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No. 17 August 2001 


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Journal of the Oriental Bird Club 






17 SEP 2501 


pUr-.CHAb^J^ 




S3 LiBBARY I 


























Forktail 17 


2001 


OBC Council 

n Allwood (Bulletin Editor, co-opted) 

David Blakesley (Managing Editor, Forktail) 

Nigel Collar (Chairman) 

Mike Edgecombe (Promotions Officer) 

Tim Inskipp (Executive Editor, Forktail) 

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Tim Loseby (Editorial Committee) 

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Peter Morris 

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Margaret Sykes (Treasurer and Membership Secretary) 
Richard Thomas (Advertising) 

Editorial Committee 

Tim Allwood (Bulletin Editor), David Blakesley (Manag¬ 
ing Editor, Forktail 0, Simon Colenutt (Assistant Bulletin 
Editor), Nigel Collar, Tim Inskipp (Executive Editor, 
Forktail), Adrian Long, Tim Loseby (Art Editor), Nigel 
Redman (Chairman), Richard Thomas 

Conservation Committee 

Andy Clements, Mike Crosby, Mark Gurney, Geoff Hilton, 
Carol Inskipp, Marcus Kohler (Chairman), Phil 
McGowan. 


OBC Representatives 

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Filip Verbelen (Belgium) 

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Torben Lund (Denmark) 

Hannu Jannes (Finland) 

Jean-Claude Porchier (France) 

Axel Braunlich (Austria and Germany) 

Geoff Carey and C. Y. Lam (Hong Kong) 

Asad Rahmani and Col. Shyam Singh (India) 

Rudyanto (Indonesia) 

Chris Murphy (Ireland) 

Carlo Violani (Italy) 

Akira Hibi (Japan) 

Jin-Young Park (Korea) 

Mike Chong and Allen Jeyarajasingam (Malaysia) 

Dr Tony Htin Hla (Myanmar [Burma]) 

Bird Conservation Nepal, Joint Secretary: Haris Rai (Nepal) 
Jelle Scharringa and Bas van Balen (Netherlands) 

Jan Ove Gjershaug (Norway) 

Ashiq Ahmad Khan and Aleem Ahmed Khan (Pakistan) 
Ding Chang-qing (China) 

Neil Aldrin Mallari (Philippines) 

Ray Tipper (Portugal) 

FangWoei-horng (Taiwan) 

Lim Kim Seng (Singapore) 

Sarath Kotagama and Upali Ekanayake (Sri Lanka) 

Per Alstrom and Per Undeland (Sweden) 

BeatWartmann (Switzerland) 

Philip Round and UthaiTreesucon (Thailand) 

Robert Kennedy (USA) 

Jonathan Eames and Nguyen Cu (Vietnam) 


The Oriental Bird Club has been established for orni¬ 
thologists throughout the world, both amateur and 
professional, who share a common interest in the re¬ 
gion’s birds and wish to assist in their conservation. 

The Club aims to: 

♦ Encourage an interest in the birds of the Oriental 
Region and their conservation 

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societies 

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Cover picture: Adult Bukidnon Woodcock Scolopax bukidnonensis with two young, 
at the type locality on Mt. Kitanglad, Mindanao, Philippines. 

From a mixed media painting by Allen P. Sutherland. 


ISSN 0950-1746 
© Oriental Bird Club 2001 




Forktail 17 


2001 


FORKTAIL 

Number 17, 2001 

CONTENTS 


R. S. KENNEDY,T. H. FISHER, S. C. B. HARRAP, A. C. DIESMOS and A. S. MANAMTAM 
A new species of woodcock (Aves: Scolopacidae) from the Philippines and a re-evaluation of other 


Asian/Papuasian woodcock. 1 

E. CURIO 

Taxonomic status of the Negros Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba keayi from Panay, Philippines, with 

notes on its behaviour . 13 

T. D. EVANS 

Ornithological records from Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR, January-July 1997 . 21 

B. KING, H. BUCK, R. FERGUSON,T. FISHER, C. GOBLET, H. NICKEL andW. SUTER 

Birds recorded during two expeditions to north Myanmar (Burma).29 

P ROUND and C. ROBSON 

Provenance and affinities of the Cambodian Laughingthrush Garrulax ferrarius .41 

J. RILEY and J. C. WARDILL 

The rediscovery of Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher Eutrichomyias rowleyi on Sangihe, Indonesia.45 

J. RILEY and J. MOLE 

The birds of Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.57 

R. C. ANDERSON and M. BAT DOCK 

New records of birds from the Maldives, with notes on other species.67 

R. KAUL and S. SHAKYA 

Spring call counts of some Galliformes in the Pipar Reserve, Nepal.75 

O. PFISTER 

Birds recorded during visits to Ladakh, India, from 1994 to 1997 . 81 

A. CHOUDHURY 

Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India.91 

R. NAOROJI and D. FORSMAN 


First breeding record of Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius for the Indian subcontinent in Changthang, 
Ladakh, and identification characters of Upland Buzzard and Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus 
. 105 

Short Notes 


D. BHATT and A. KUMAR 

Foraging ecology of Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer in Haridwar, India. 109 

T. R. SHANKAR RAMAN 

Observations on the Oriental Bay Owl Phodilus badius and range extension in the Western Ghats, India ..110 
J. MLIKOVSKY 

Birds of Phu Lon Le Island, Thailand. 112 

A. ROADHOUSE 

Merlin Falco columbarius, the first record for Thailand . 114 

Y. PERLMAN 

Blyth’s Pipit Anthus godlewskii: a new species for Thailand . 115 

J. C. WARDILL 

Notes on theTalaud Rail Gymnocrex talaudensis from Karakelang island, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. 116 

I. MAURO 

Cinnabar Hawk Owl Ninox ios at Lore Lindu National Park, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, in 

December 1998 . 118 

A. R. STYRING and K. ICKES 

Interactions between the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus and woodpeckers in a 
lowland Malaysian rainforest. 119 

D. I. KING and J. H. RAPPOLE 

Kleptoparasitism of laughingthrushes Garrulax by Greater Racket-tailed Drongos Dicrurus paradiseus 
in Myanmar. 121 





























FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 1-12 


17 SEP 2001 

i PURCHASED 
| TR iG LIBRARY 

' --'- ■ ■v 


.rawsaaorc*:. 


A new species of woodcock (Aves: Scolopacidae) 
from the Philippines and a re-evaluation of 
other Asian/Papuasian woodcock 


ROBERT S. KENNEDY,TIMOTHY H. FISHER, SIMON C. B. HARRAP, 
ARVIN C. DIESMOS and ARTURO S. MANAMTAM 


A new species of woodcock, Scolopax bukidnonensis Bukidnon Woodcock, known from central and 
northern Luzon and from four mountains on Mindanao, is described. Specimens of this new 
taxon obtained in the 1960s from Dalton Pass, Nueva Vizcaya Province, Luzon, were incorrectly 
identified as the Eurasian Woodcock A. rusticola and it was not until it was sighted and heard on 
Mt. Kitanglad, Bukidnon Province, Mindanao, in February 1993, and a specimen obtained from 
Mt. Kitanglad in January 1995, that the species involved was recognized as distinct. Bukidnon 
Woodcock occurs in montane and montane mossy forests and in adjacent clearings, usually above 
1,000 m, and appears to be locally common. Its display, vocalizations, habits and breeding 
behaviour are summarized. Since earlier records (specimens were destroyed during World War II) 
of the Eurasian Woodcock were of birds collected in the lowlands of Luzon, this migratory species 
is retained on the list of Philippine birds. However, there are no recent records of the Eurasian 
Woodcock in the Philippines. Other Asian/Papuasian woodcock are also reviewed, leading to 
confirmation of the validity of the two recognized subspecies of the Sulawesi Woodcock, S’, c. 
celebensis and S’, c. heinrichi , and to the conclusion that the two formerly recognized subspecies of 
S. saturata should be considered full species, S. saturata Javan Woodcock and S. rosenbergii New 
Guinea Woodcock. 


INTRODUCTION 

Summary of the genus Scolopax 

Currently there are six recognized species of woodcock 
in the world (Hayman et al. 1986, van Gils and Wiersma 
1996). Two of these are well known migratory species 
with broad ranges. The first of these, the American 
Woodcock Scolopax minor , breeds from south-eastern 
Canada to central and south-eastern United States and 
migrates to the south-eastern United States, with a few 
reaching north-eastern Mexico (American 
Ornithologists’ Union 1998).The other is the Eurasian 
Woodcock 5. rusticola , which breeds from the Azores in 
the Atlantic Ocean across Eurasia to Japan and migrates 
to southern Europe, north Africa to South-East Asia 
and southern China (Sibley and Monroe 1990). The 
remaining four are poorly known non-migratory species 
with restricted ranges. One, the Amami Woodcock S’. 
mira, is found in lowland subtropical evergreen broadleaf 
forest only on four islands in the central Ryukyu or 
Nansei Shoto Islands, Japan (Brazil and Ikenaga 1987, 
BirdLife International 2001). The other three occupy 
montane moist or mossy forest usually above 1,000 m. 
The Sulawesi Woodcock S. celebensis is restricted to the 
mountains of north, north-central and central Sulawesi 
(White and Bruce 1986, Coates and Bishop 1997).The 
Rufous Woodcock S. saturata has two highly disjunct 
races, S. 5. saturata recorded from two mountains in 
Sumatra and three mountains in Java (MacKinnon and 
Phillipps 1993), and S’, s. rosenbergii confined to the 
highlands of New Guinea (Beehler et al. 1986). Finally, 
the Moluccan Woodcock S. rochussenii is known only 
from eight specimens from two relatively small islands 
in the Moluccas, seven from Obi and one from Bacan 


(Coates and Bishop 1997, BirdLife International 2001). 

Woodcock in the Philippines 

Dickinson et al. (1991) summarized the published 
Philippine records of the Eurasian Woodcock, which at 
the time they believed was the only woodcock known 
from the Philippines. McGregor and Manuel (1936) 
reported two specimens, both obtained in the lowlands 
of Luzon, the first on 4 December 1929 from Santo 
Tomas, Pampanga Province, and the other on 18 
September 1931 from Fort William McKinley [now Ft 
Bonifacio, Makati (Kennedy et al. 2000)], Rizal Province. 
These presumed Eurasian Woodcock specimens were 
deposited in the Bureau of Science collections [later to 
become the National Museum of the Philippines 
(NMP)], but were destroyed when the National 
Museum was bombed during World War II. McClure 
and Leelavit (1972) provided banding records from 
Dalton Pass, Nueva Vizcaya Province, Luzon (Figure 
1), of four other woodcock captured and released, two 
in 1966, one in 1967, and one in 1969. DuPont (1971) 
simply noted that the Eurasian Woodcock ‘winters on 
Luzon from Asia’ yet the illustration of the species in 
Plate 23 of his book was based on a specimen (DMNH 
3453) from Dalton Pass obtained in August 1969; this 
specimen was not a Eurasian Woodcock. Since the 
previous specimens of “Eurasian Woodcock” have been 
destroyed, no confirmatory evidence exists regarding 
which species the earlier woodcock records represent. 

On 18 February 1993, Harrap and Fisher, along with 
other members of a Birdquest tour, flushed a woodcock 
from a trail in a relict patch of forest at c. 1,600 m on 
Mt. Kitanglad (Figure 1) in Sitio Kinubalan, Barangay 
Dalwangan, Municipality of Malaybalay, Bukidnon 



2 


R. S. KENNEDY et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


116 ° 


20 ° 


120 ° 


■J 


124 ° 


128 ° 


20 ° 


_ meters 

_J Oto 1000 
1000 to 2000 
| 2000 and above 


▲ Mountain Peaks 
• Cities or Municipalities 
■ Woodcock Records 


Philippine Si 



16° 


12° 


PACIFIC 


OCEAN 


"fat, Kitangladm • Malaybalay BisligJ 

! MINDANAO 

i / r ‘ ' ( ' V IkMt Puting Bato 

- 1 l i r i A Mt. Kampalili 


A Mt. Mayo 


Figure 1. Map of the Philippines showing the distribution of localities mentioned in the text, and the distribution of land 
above 1,000 m (shaded grey) and above 2,000 m (shaded dark grey). 









iult Bukidnon Woodcock Scolopax bukidnonensis sp. nov. with two young, and adult roding in flight, at the type locality on 
t. Kitanglad, Mindanao, Philippines. From a mixed media painting by Allen P. Sutherland. 































Forktail 17 (2001) 


A new species of woodcock from the Philippines 


3 


Province in north-central Mindanao (Harrap and Fisher 
1994). On 19 and 20 February 1993, the party both 
sighted and heard the woodcock during the dawn 
twilight hours performing roding (courtship) behaviour 
and concluded that it must be a resident population 
but was not the Eurasian Woodcock. During subsequent 
trips to the area in 1993 and 1994, Fisher, Harrap, Ben 
King, Peter Morris and others made additional sightings 
and recorded the unique calls of the birds. 

As part of the National Museum of the Philippines/ 
Cincinnati Museum of Natural History (NMP/CMNH) 
Philippine Biodiversity Inventory, Fisher and Kennedy 
returned to Kinubalan and observed the woodcocks at 
dawn and dusk during the period 18 to 22 January 1995. 
On the morning of 22 January at 05h30, shortly before 
the birds normally stop roding and calling, they captured 
an individual in a mist-net set over a ploughed field 
between patches of forest. The "bird was darker and 
more richly coloured than the Eurasian Woodcock and 
very similar to the Delaware Museum specimen from 
Dalton Pass that they had examined prior to visiting 
the site. 

Since the capture of the 1995 specimen, three more 
specimens have been obtained from Mt. Kitanglad, one 
in 1996 by researchers from the Nordic Agency for 
Development and Ecology (NORE)ECO)/Department 
of Environment and Natural Resources field team (but 
not yet housed in a museum), and two in 1999 by Dale 
H. Clayton and Sarah Al-Tamimi (specimens in Field 
Museum of Natural History). In addition, one specimen 
was obtained on Mt. Kimangkil, north-east of Mt. 
Kitanglad on Mindanao, in 2000 by Franelyn J. 
Saguindang (specimen in Natural Science Museum, 
Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of 
Technology), one on Mt. Malindang, Mindanao in 2000 
by the CARE (Cooperative for American Relief 
Everywhere) Philippine-AWESOME (AgenciesWorking 
for Ecological Sustainability of Mt. Malindang’s 
Environs) Project biodiversity survey team, and we 
located one older specimen of this woodcock (NMP 
8175 identified on the label as Scolopax rusticola ) 
collected on 3 June 1985, from Dalton Pass, Luzon. 
Comparison of the two specimens from Luzon and six 
from Mindanao with specimens of all other woodcocks 
confirms that the resident populations of woodcock in 
the Philippines represent a new species, which we name 

Scolopax bukidnonensis, sp. nov. 

Bukidnon Woodcock 

Holotype 

Skin with detached spread right wing (NMP 019561, 
formerly CMNH 37639; Figure 2), adult male with left 
testis measuring 19x12 mm. It was mist-netted in a 
cleared field adjacent to montane forest (Figure 3) on 
22 January 1995, at an elevation of 1,530 m, c. 
8° 08.58'N 124°58.88'E, 6.5 km east, 2.9 km north of 
the peak (2,938 m) of Mt. Kitanglad in the Sawaga 
(alternate name Lalawan) River drainage, Sitio 
Kinubalan, Barangay Dalwangan, Municipality of 
Malaybalay, Bukidnon Province, Mindanao, Philippines. 
It was collected by the NMP/CMNH Philippine 
Biodiversity Inventory Team, prepared by Renato E. 
Fernandez and Jeffery C. Brown and given the field 


number Robert S. Kennedy 3532. The fluid-preserved 
body and alcohol-preserved tissue remain CMNH 
37639. 


DESCRIPTION OF HOLOTYPE 

Supraloral, malar and chin Pale Pinkish Buff 121D 
(colour names in capitals and numbers from Smithe 
1975, 1981), all but chin feathers closest to base of bill 
with Dusky Brown 19 centres or shafts. Lores and stripe 
below eye on cheek Dusky Brown. Forehead, forecrown 
and stripe on nape light Olive-Brown 28 with feather 
tips Dusky Brown. Beginning on crown and extending 
down hindneck, four broad Dusky Brown bars, 
delineated by narrow Cinnamon-Rufous 40 bars. 
Mantle, scapulars and lesser coverts Dusky Brown, 
mottled with dark Pale Pinkish Buff on mantle and dark 
Cinnamon-Rufous on scapulars and lesser coverts; 
scapulars further marked by Pale Pinkish Buff shafts, 
outer webs light Olive-Brown edged with an inner line 
of Dusky Brown and outer line of Pale Pinkish Buff, the 
combined effect of the shafts and outer webs forming 
two light-coloured parallel lines down back. Lower back 
and rump Olive-Brown, feathers tipped or edged with 
Pale Pinkish Buff. Uppertail-coverts mottled or diffusely 
barred with Dusky Brown, Pale Pinkish Buff and light 
and dark Cinnamon-Rufous. Tail Dusky Brown; above 
notched with Cinnamon-Rufous on webs, mottled with 
Brownish Olive 29 that forms two or three broad bars 
at end of tail; below, notches are Pale Pinkish Buff, some 
subterminal barring, and tipped (about last 8 to 10 mm 
of tail) with silvery-grey. Upperwing-coverts and flight 
feathers pale Dusky Brown with dark Cinnamon-Rufous 
notches on outer webs, paler notches on inner webs; 
median coverts variably barred with Pale Pinkish Buff 
and Olive-Brown. Underwing-coverts and flight feathers 
Olive-Brown, lesser wing-coverts barred Cinnamon 
123A, median coverts barred with Cinnamon and Drab- 
Gray 119D, greater coverts barred with Drab-Gray, flight 
feathers notched with Cinnamon; notches are darker 
on outer webs. Throat and breast Cinnamon finely 
barred with Dusky Brown. Broad vertical Dusky Brown 
bar extends from side of neck midway across breast, 
bar bordered by Cinnamon-Rufous. Belly and undertail- 
coverts dark Pale Pinkish Buff barred with Dusky Brown, 
barring fainter and more diffuse in centre of belly. 
Kennedy described the soft-part colours of the living 
holotype as ‘Bill pearly grayish horn flesh with light tan 
tip; eye dark brown; skin of eye-ring and patch behind 
eye blackish/grayish brown; legs, feet and nails pearly 
gray; gape and tongue pink.’ Wing-point formula: 9 > 8 
>10 > 7. See Plate 1 and Figure 2. 

Measurements of the holotype 

Measurements (in mm) taken from dried skin: Wing 
chord 170, tail 65.6, tarsus length 40.3, culmen length 
from base of skull 81.0, width of upper mandible at 
widest part of tip 3.8, bill width at base at feather line 
9.0, height of upper mandible at feather line 8.9, length 
of longest toe including nail 41.7, total length (from 
fresh specimen) 310, weight 216 g. 



4 


R. S. KENNEDY et al 


Forktail 17 (2001) 



Figure 2.The holotype of Scolopax bukidnonensis shortly after it was captured on Mt. Kitanglad. Photo by R. S. Kennedy. 



Figure 3. The type locality of Scolopax bukidnonensis on Mt. Kitanglad on 22 January 1995, the day the holotype was 
captured. Photo by R. S. Kennedy. 










Forktail 17 (2001) 


A new species of woodcock from the Philippines 


5 


Paratypes 

FMNH 392226 male, FMNH 392227 female, collected 
by Dale H. Clayton and Sarah Al-Tamimi on 27 April 
1999 at elevations of 1,457 m and 1,463 m respectively, 
on Mt. Kitanglad, 8°11'20"N 124°55'20"E, 10.7 km 
south, 2.9 km west of Sumilao Municipality center, 
Barangay Lupiagan, Municipality of Sumilao, Bukidnon 
Province, Mindanao. 

Paratypic variation 

The other adult male specimen is virtually identical to 
the holotype in all plumage characteristics and in wing 
formula. The female specimen varies in plumage from 
the holotype by having less contrasting and duller 
Cinnamon-Rufous edges and/or notches in the feathers, 
by the bands on the hind-crown and nape, and in the 
feathers of the mantle, wing-coverts and flight feathers, 
giving the upperparts an overall duller appearance. The 
underparts of this specimen are likewise duller, with 
slightly narrower and duller Dusky Brown barring from 
throat to undertail-coverts, and generally paler 
Cinnamon throughout the underparts. In addition, the 
Dusky Brown loral stripes are narrower. Wing formula 
equals that of the holotype. 

Other specimens 

DMNH 3453 female, collected by Nicandro Icarangal, 
Sr in August 1969, elevation 1,070 m, at Dalton Pass, 
Nueva Vizcaya Province, Luzon. The Luzon female 
differs from the holotype by having darker supralorals 
and forehead and lighter forecrown showing less 
distinction between the two. Cinnamon-Rufous areas 
on the upperparts are generally brighter. Secondaries 
are paler Dusky Brown with less contrast and with 
Cinnamon-Rufous notches. Uppertail-coverts are 
brighter, tail is more distinctly barred and tipped with 
more reddish Brownish Olive. Lower throat and breast 
brighter Cinnamon. Belly is lighter Pale Pinkish Buff. 
Barring on underparts from lower throat to undertail- 
coverts paler, with bars from throat to belly narrower, 
both similar to the Mindanao female. Undertail-coverts 
are richer reddish Pale Pinkish Buff. Wing-point formula 
differs from the holotype as follows: 9 = 8>7>10. 
Combining measurement data of the Luzon specimen 
to that of the Mindanao female and comparing males 
to females, we found that differences between sexes were 
not significant in any measurement taken (z-test, Wilcox 
test, P< 0.05). A second Luzon specimen (NMP 8175, 
sex unknown), collected by Manuel Celestino on 3 June 
1965, elevation 1,070 m, at Dalton Pass, Nueva Vizcaya 
Province, was in a foxed, mouldy and damaged 
condition. Other specimens examined by one of us, but 
not available during the description of this species 
include: one female collected by the Nordic Agency for 
Development and Ecology/Department of Environment 
and Natural Resources field team on 4 September 1996, 
elevation 2,750 m, on Mt. Dulang-dulang in the Mt. 
Kitanglad Range, Sitio Bulogan, Barangay Sungko, 
Municipality of Lantapan, Bukidnon Province, 
Mindanao; one male collected by Bias R. Tabaranza, Jr 
and Renato E. Fernandez of the CARE Philippines- 
AWESOME biodiversity team on 2 May 2000, elevation 
between 1,750 and 1,850 m, 8°14'23"N 123°37'18"E, 
1.8 km west, 2.8 km north of the peak of Mt. Malindang, 
Sitio Patagan, Barangay Lalud, Municipality of Don 


Victoriano, Misamis Occidental Province, Mindanao; 
and one male (Natural Science Museum, Mindanao 
State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, field 
number 0026) collected by Franelyn J. Saguindang on 
23 May 2000, elevation 1,200 m, on Mt. Kimangkil, 
Sitio Nasandigan, Barangay Hagpa, Municipality of 
Impasug-ong, Bukidnon Province, Mindanao. (Notes: 
the Mt. Dulang-dulang and Mt. Malindang specimens 
will eventually be deposited in the NMP; the location 
of Mt. Kimangkil is not marked in Fig. 1) 

Diagnosis 

Plumage — Scolopax bukidnonensis differs from the most 
similar species, 5. celebensis , in having the notches in the 
flight feathers darker Cinnamon-Rufous (almost Pale 
Pinkish Buff in S’, celebensis ); by the less extensive Pale 
Pinkish Buff mottling on the wing-coverts; by the throat 
and breast Cinnamon and belly dark Pale Pinkish Buff 
(throat, breast and belly are bright cinnamon Clay Color 
123B in S’, celebensis ), with broader barring on the lower 
throat, breast and flanks, and having barring on the 
centre of belly and undertail-coverts. 

From both taxa of the next most similar species, S. 
saturata, S. bukidnonensis differs in having the two Pale 
Pinkish Buff parallel lines down the back better defined, 
and in having prominent Cinnamon-Rufous notches in 
the primaries. The Dusky Brown lores, stripe below the 
eye and vertical bar on the side of the breast are strongly 
defined in S’, bukidnonensis and, although present in both 
populations of S. saturata , are usually narrower and less 
defined. S. bukidnonensis lacks the white malar spots and 
supraloral spots that are well developed and conspicuous 
in S. 5. rosenbergii, but less so in S. 5. saturata. The 
underparts of S. bukidnonensis are much lighter, more 
uniformly coloured, and barred with Dusky Brown, 
while S. s. rosenbergii has a white chin, Dusky Brown 
throat, breast and belly with narrow Cinnamon bars on 
throat and breast, white barring and feathers tipped 
white on lower breast and belly, and some narrow Drab 
27 bars on the flanks and mixed in with the white on 
the belly; A. 5. saturata has a Pale Horn Color 92 chin, 
throat, breast and belly finely barred and/or mottled with 
Dusky Brown and Drab, and a white band between the 
breast and belly. The under tail-coverts of A. bukidnonensis 
are paler Cinnamon and more heavily barred than in 
both populations of S. saturata. 

Scolopax bukidnonensis differs from the wide-ranging 
and variable A. rusticola and the restricted S’, mira in 
having darker and narrowly patterned upperparts (S. 
rusticola and 5. mira have Dusky Brown confined to the 
lores, stripe below eye, bars on crown and hindneck, 
and to the centres of a few feathers on the mantle and 
scapulars). The Pale Pinkish Buff spots associated with 
the Dusky Brown centres that form two parallel lines 
running down the scapulars in 5. bukidnonensis contrast 
strongly with the rest of the upperparts, less so in 5. 
rusticola and 5. mira. The rest of the upperparts in 5. 
rusticola and S’. mira range more or less from pale 
Cinnamon-Rufous to Drab and are finely barred with 
Dusky Brown to Olive-Brown. The underparts of 5. 
bukidnonensis are generally more uniform, and darker 
and more heavily barred than in 5. rusticola and S. mira. 
Both the latter have a Pale Horn Color chin and upper 
throat and pale Buff 124 breast and belly finely barred 
with pale Dusky Brown to Olive-Brown, and both have 



6 


R. S. KENNEDY et a!. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Table 1 . Measurements (x ± SD, with [n, range] in parentheses) of Scolopax bukidnonensis and other woodcock species 


Measurement 

(mm) 

Scolopax 

bukidnonensis 

Scolopax 

celebensis 

Scolopax (s.) 
saturata 

Scolopax (s.) 
rosenbergii 

Scolopax 

mira 

Scolopax 

rusticola 

Scolopax 

rochussenii 

Wing chord 

171.3 ± 9.6 
(6, 162 - 188) 

189.2 ± 4.1 * 

(5, 184 - 193) 

145.6 ± 4.1 * 

(14, 136-151) 

151.9+ 3.9*** 

(29, 142 - 160) 

188.4 ± 4.6 * 

(9, 182 - 195) 

186.8+ 5.1 * 

(29, 177 - 197) 

195.2 ± 6.2* 

(4, 190 - 204) 

Tail 

63.2 ± 3.0 
(5, 59.8 - 66.8) 

68.4 ± 2.0 
(5, 65.6 - 70.3) 

51.2 ± 3.3* 

(13, 45.7 - 58.4) 

58.4 ± 2.5 ** 

(27, 53.5 - 63.2) 

69.7+ 5.0 
(9, 62.6 - 78.8) 

76.2 ± 4.6* 

(28, 69.1 - 83.3) 

70.8 ± 5.2 
(4, 63.4 - 74.8) 

Tarsus 

40.5 ± 1.4 
(6, 38.1-41.9) 

44.2 ± 1.1* 

(4, 43.3 - 45.8) 

35.0 ± 0.9 * 

(14, 34.0 - 36.8) 

36.9 ± 1.4*** 

(29, 33.8 - 39.6) 

45.5 ±1.4 * 

(9, 42.2 - 46.6) 

37.7 ± 1.3 * 

(28,35.8 - 41.7) 

48.9 ± 0.2 * 

(2, 48.8 - 49.1) 

Culmen chord 

82.7 ± 6.4 
(6, 72.3-91.4) 

88.3+6.0 

(5,81.3-93.1) 

75.8 ± 4.6 
(13,69.9 - 83.1) 

84.9 ±5.7 ** 

(29, 73.4 - 93.4) 

87.1 ± 4.6 
(9, 80.3 - 95.1) 

80.0 ± 2.8 
(29, 74.7 - 84.8) 

100.8 ±3.9* 

(2, 98.0 - 103.5) 

Bill tip width 
at widest part 

4.1 ± 0.2 
(5, 3.8 - 4.4) 

4.3 ± 0.2 
(5, 4.1 -4.6) 

3.3 ± 0.1 
(11, 3.1 - 3.6) 

3.4+ 0.1 
(29, 3.2 - 3.8) 

4.3 ± 0.1 
(8, 4.2-4.5) 

3.7 + 0.2 
(14,3.1-4.0) 

4.8 ± 0.0 
(2, 4.7 - 4.8) 

Bill width at 
feather line 

8.9 ± 0.7 
(6, 8.1 -9.8) 

9.6 ± 0.6 
(5,8.8- 10.4) 

8.0 ± 0.3 
(12,7.3-8.5) 

8.1 ± 0.7 
(29, 6.7 -9.3) 

9.6 ± 0.8 
(8,7.9-10.5) 

7.9 ± 0.7 
(14,7.0-9.4) 

11.5 ± 2.0 
(2, 10.1 - 12.9) 

Bill height at 
feather line 

8.2 ± 0.6 
(5, 7.6-8.9) 

8.4 ± 0.5 
(5, 7.9-9.1) 

6.9 ± 0.4 
(12,6.0-7.5) 

6.7 ± 0.5 
(29,5.5-7.8) 

8.3 ± 0.5 
(8, 7.6-9.0) 

6.9 ± 0.5 
(14,6.1 -7.8) 

8.7 ± 1.1 
(2, 7.9-9.5) 

Longest toe 
length 

43.0 ± 1.6 
(5,41.1 -45.1) 

42.2 ± 2.3 
(3,41.1-45.7) 

41.0+2.3 
(13, 37.8 - 44.9) 

39.1 + 2.4 
(25, 35.1 - 43.9) 

46.3 ± 2.2* 

(8, 43.8 - 50.4) 

42.3 ± 2.4 
(29, 37.5 - 48.4) 

48.7 ± 1.6* 

(2, 47.6 - 49.8) 

Wing-point 

9 > 8 > 10 > 7 (2) 

9 > 8 > 10 > 7 (1) 
9>8>7> 10(1) 

9 = 8 > 10 > 7 (2) 

9 = 8 > 7 > 10 (2) 

9 >8 >7 >10(1) 

9 > 8 > 7 > 10(1) 

9 > 8 > 10 > 7 (3) 

9 > 8 > 7 > 10 (2) 

9 = 8 > 10 > 7 (2) 

9 > 8 = 10 > 7 (1) 

9 > 8 > 10 > 7 (1) 

8 >9 >7 > 10(1) 

8 >9 >7 > 10(1) 

9 > 8 > 7 > 10 (7) 

9 > 8 > 10 > 7 (2) 

9 > 8 > 10 > 7 (2) 

9 = 8 > 10 > 7 (2) 

9 > 8 = 10 > 7 (2) 

9 = 8 = 10 > 7 (2) 

8 > 9 > 10 > 7 (2) 

9 > 8 > 10 > 7 (1) 

9 = 8 > 7 > 10 (1) 

9 >8 >7 >10(1) 

8 >9 >7 > 10(1) 

8 >9 >7 >10(1) 

8 > 7 = 9 > 10 (1) 

9 > 10 > 8 > 7 (2) 

10 > 9 > 8 > 7 (2) 
10 = 9 > 8 > 7 (2) 
10 > 9 > 8 > 7 (1) 

10 > 9 > 8 > 7 (10) 

9 > 8 > 10 > 7 (2) 

Weight (g) 

238.3 ± 43.9 
(4, 193-310) 

No data 

No data 

No data 

No data 

No data 

No data 

Wing-point 

difference 

2.2 ± 0.8 
(5, 1.3-3.5) 

5.2 ± 1.5 
(2,4.1 -6.2) 

3.9 ± 1.3 
(9, 1.8-5.1) 

5.1 ± 0.1 
(2, 5.0- 5.2) 

6.9+ 0.8* 

(2, 6.4-7.5) 

15.5 ± 2.4* 

(9, 12.2-19.4) 

No data 

Total length 

314.8 ± 16.6 
(4, 301 -343) 

No data 

No data 

No data 

No data 

335.7 

(5,299 - 354) 

No data 


* Differs significantly from Scolopax bukidnonensis (pairwise differences between species at 95% simultaneous confidence intervals for specified linear combinations, by 
the Tukey method). 

** Pairwise differences between 5. (s.) saturata and 5. (s.) rosenbergu at 95% simultaneous confidence intervals. 


darker throats and upper breasts, which may form a 
band; in 5. rusticola, the band is variable, ranging from 
Cinnamon to pale Dusky Brown, while in 5. mira, it is 
typically Dusky Brown and very broad. 

Wing-point formula — The wing-point formulae of 
woodcock fall into two general categories (Table 1): 
those with pointed wings (S. rusticola and 5. mira) having 
wing-point formula P10>P9>P8>P7; and those with 
rounded wings (the remaining species) having P8 or P9 
the longest. The wing-point formula for 5. bukidnonensis 
is most similar to that of 5. celebensis in that P9 is the 
longest, yet the formula for 5. celebensis was distinct in 
three of the four specimens for which it was determined. 
Although 5. bukidnonensis shares rounded wings with 
both populations of 5. saturata , the latter is highly 
variable with P9 the most frequent longest feather 
followed by P8. Wing-point formula for 5. rochussenii 
P9>P8>P10>P7 follows the general pattern for the 
majority of 5. bukidnonensis. 


Mensural differences — Scolopax bukidnonensis differs 
significantly (pairwise differences between species and 
subspecies at 95% simultaneous confidence intervals 
for specified linear combinations, by theTukey method) 
in wing chord and tarsus length from all species and 
subspecies (Table 1), in tail length from 5. 5. saturata 
and S', rusticola , in culmen chord from S. rochussenii , in 
length of longest toe from S. mira and S. rochussenii , and 
in wing-point difference (distance between longest and 
shortest of primaries 7 to 10) from S. mira and S. 
rusticola. For each variable measured, the mean of at 
least one species/subspecies differs significantly 
(ANOVA, P< 0.01) from the mean of at least one other 
species or subspecies (Table 1), whether or not the sexes 
are pooled or compared separately. 

Etymology 

We are pleased to name this remarkable new species 
after the collective name for all of the local tribes of 
people inhabiting the Mt. Kitanglad Range, and for 
whom the Province of Bukidnon, Mindanao is named. 

















Forktail 17 (2001) 


A new species of woodcock from the Philippines 


7 


The Visayan word bukid means ‘mountain’ and the word 
bukidnon means ‘of the mountain.’ The English name 
Bukidnon Woodcock thus means ‘woodcock of the 
mountains’ and in the broad sense is an accurate 
description of the habitat of this species, i.e. montane 
forests and clearings usually above 1,000 m, throughout 
its known range on the Philippine islands of Luzon and 
Mindanao. 


DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT 

In addition to the specimen records of the Bukidnon 
Woodcock from Mt. Ivitanglad, Mt. Malindang and Mt. 
Kimangkil on Mindanao and Dalton Pass in Nueva 
Vizcaya Province, Luzon, there are tape recordings, and 
sight and auditory records from these and other localities 
on these islands (Figure 1). 

Mindanao —On Mt. Apo, Kennedy obtained tape 
recordings of the call of the Bukidnon Woodcock at 
05hl2 on 25 January 1995 and again at 18h02 and 
18h09 on 26 January 1995 at the Mt. Apo Geothermal 
Site, in Barangay Ilomavis, Municipality of Kidapawan, 
North Cotabato Province, Mindanao, at 2,200 m in 
montane mossy forest. The original tape-recordings are 
deposited in the Cornell Library of Natural Sounds. 

Luzon —On Luzon there have been several sightings of 
what was probably this species. On Mt. Cetaceo in 
Cagayan Province, at about 17°42'N 122°02'E, 
Danielsen et al. (1994) reported sighting a woodcock 
on three occasions in montane mossy forest between 
1,400 and 1,650 m in May 1992. 

On Mt. Banahao, Barangay Lalo, Municipality of 
Tayabas, Quezon Province, Diesmos sighted or heard 
the woodcock on two separate occasions. One bird was 
flushed from a row of dense undergrowth surrounding 
a natural clearing (landslide) in upper montane forest 
at 1,700 m near the summit in June 1996 at about lOhOO. 
In addition, Diesmos heard one or more birds call in 
flight five times between 05h00 and 06h00 at 
Pmagheneralan, Mt. Banahao, from 30 April to 5 May 
2000 at 1,400 m in upper montane forest. He described 
the call as follows: “The call was in two parts: the first 
part sounded like a high-pitched trill prat at at at at..., 
which is similar to the call of the Colasisi Loriculus 
philippensis or Guaiabero Bolbopsittacus lunulatus; this was 
followed immediately by a snort-like ngork-ngork-ngork. 

On Mt. Natib, Sitio Banati, Municipality of Orani in 
Subic-Bataan Natural Park, 15.5 km west of 
Municipality of Balanga, Bataan Province, 14°43.12'N 
120°23.8'E, Diesmos, as part of the NORDECO-DENR 
field team, sighted woodcocks three times, twice in the 
morning and once in the afternoon, in May 1996 at 
about 1,000 m in a 2 ha clearing in lower montane forest. 

In April 2001 in the Cordillera Mountains in 
Barangay Balbalasang, Municipality of Balbalan, 
Kalinga Province, in an area locally called Am-licao, 
17°26'30"N 121°04'15"E, Dan Davison, BlasTabaranza, 
Renato Fernandez and Diesmos heard woodcock on 
several occasions at dusk (17h30 to 18h00) and pre¬ 
dawn (04h00 to 05h00) at 1,900 m. Davison and 
Fernandez also flushed what they believed was a 


woodcock from a small clearing on a ridge at about 1,900 
m at 22h00. 

Despite these Luzon records, Fisher, Harrap, 
Kennedy, Ben King and many others have birded 
montane mossy forests along and off the road on Mt. 
Polis above Banaue, Mountain Province, Luzon, from 
pre-dawn through dark on numerous occasions from 
January to April over the past 20 years without seeing 
or hearing the Bukidnon Woodcock. 

Other islands :—Although the possibility exists that the 
Bukidnon Woodcock occurs on other Philippine 
mountainous islands with montane mossy forest above 
1,000 m, none has been encountered thus far. During a 
biodiversity survey of Mt. Kanla-on (Canlaon) on 
Negros in 1998, Kennedy spent dusk to dark on 23 and 
24 February and pre-dawn to dawn on 25 February at 
1,900 m in montane mossy forest at an old volcanic 
crater, Harding sang Balo, listening for the woodcock 
without success. 

In summary, the Bukidnon Woodcock appears to be 
widespread in central and northern Luzon and on 
Mindanao in montane and montane mossy forest, with 
or without clearings, from as low as 900 m (Fisher 
sighting, 24 June 2000 on Mt. Kitanglad at Kalenganan, 
San Vicente, Baungon) to near mountain summits at 
2,750 m. 


HABITS 

Daily rhythm and roding behaviour 

The Bukidnon Woodcock has occasionally been flushed 
in or near forest patches during the day; indeed, the 
first sighting on Mt. Kitanglad was of a bird flushed 
(Harrap and Fisher 1994). Most observations are of 
birds in aerial display or roding flights similar to those 
performed by Eurasian Woodcock. At dusk, woodcock 
have been seen emerging from small relict forest patches, 
flying rapidly and giving a ‘rattle’ call (see below), but 
they have also been flushed at dusk from cleared areas 
overgrown with a dense cover of bracken Pteridium. 

The Bukidnon Woodcock undertakes roding flights 
both at dawn and at dusk. It is remarkably regular in 
the time of its appearance, particularly at dusk, when it 
starts its roding flights and begins calling when the light 
is such that humans can see objects, but can barely 
discern colours. The authors have, between them, seen 
or heard the woodcock more than 100 times, Fisher 
alone having seen or heard them on 70 occasions from 
1993 to 2001, mostly at the Philippine Eagle Eco-lodge 
at Dalwangan on Mt. Kitanglad between 1,400 and 
1,650 m. In general, roding lasts about 30 minutes in 
the morning but may last up to 1.5 hours, particularly 
on clear bright nights. In the evening roding is generally 
shorter, usually about 10 to 20 minutes, but has lasted 
as long as 30 minutes. The Bukidnon Woodcock appears 
less active during rainy conditions. The following are a 
few examples of roding times. From 19 to 22 January 
1995 on Mt. Kitanglad, Fisher and Kennedy noted the 
woodcock starting dawn calling and roding as early as 
04h48 and ending by 05h46.The holotype was captured 
on 22 January at 05h30 as it was calling and roding. At 
dusk on 19,20 and 21 January, woodcock started calling 



8 


R. S. KENNEDY et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


4a. 






4d. 



4e. 



kHz 

10 - 


8 - 



4g. 


Figure 4. 

4a. Sonagram 1 - Scolopax bukidnonensis: Roding over forest, Mt. Kitanglad, Mindanao, c. 1250 m, February 2000. 

Detail of rattle phrase. Recorded by S. Flarrap. 

4b. Sonagram 2 - Scolopax bukidnonensis'. Roding over forest, Mt. Kitanglad, Mindanao, c. 1250 m, February 2001. 

Grunt and rattle phrases. Recorded by S. Harrap. 

4c. Sonagram 3 - Scolopax bukidnonensis'. Roding over forest, Mt. Kitanglad, Mindanao, c. 1250 m, February 2001. 

Extended sequence of grunt and rattle phrases. Recorded by S. Harrap. 

4d. Sonagram 4 - Scolopax rusticola: The snore phrase showing the banded structure. From Roche (1990). 

4e. Sonagram 5 - Scolopax rusticola: Snore and sneeze phrases together. From Kettle and Ranft (1992). 

4f. Sonagram 6 - Scolopax saturata rosenbergii: 21 or 22 September 1974,Wau, Morobe District, Papua New Guinea. The 
nasal whooshing chuuwi phrase showing the structure as in an inverted comma. Recorded byT. Pratt (Cornell Fibrary 
of Natural Sounds). 

4g. Sonagram 7 - Scolopax saturata rosenbergii: Roding over forest, Gunung Idong, 2,100 m, Mokwam, Irian Jaya, 8 
October 1995). Whooshing and grunt phrases combined: chuuwi...quorr-quorr-quorr-quorr-quorr. ... Recorded by D. 
Gibbs (British Library, National Sound Archive). 


























Forktail 17 (2001) 


A new species of woodcock from the Philippines 


9 


at 18h00, 18h01 and 18h01 respectively, with calling 
ending on the 19th at 18h 15. Harrap on Mt. Kitanglad 
on 18 February 2001 noted roding at 05h25 and 05h36 
and then at 18hl0, 18hl5 and 18h25. In relation to 
other crepuscular species, at dusk the woodcocks 
typically do not start roding until after Great Eared 
Nightjars Eurostopodus macrotis and Philippine Nightjars 
Caprimulgus manillensis have begun to call, but a little 
before Philippine Frogmouths Batrachostomus septimus 
give their dusk calls. 

It may be assumed that there are seasonal variations 
in the intensity of the roding displays, and there certainly 
seem to be variations from year to year. Fisher has 
observed roding at the Eagle Camp on Mt. Kitanglad 
from 15 December to 24 June during his visits there. 
Diesmos and Manamtam sighted or heard them roding 
from 2 to 8 September 1996 at elevations from 2,000 to 
2,760 m on Mt. Dulang-dulang in the Mt. Kitanglad 
Range. Generally the intensity of roding has been about 
the same during the periods observed, yet there have 
been times, particularly in February 1994 (Fisher and 
Harrap), February 1998 (P. Morris, Fisher and 
Kennedy) and February 1999 (Fisher and Harrap) when 
the activity was reduced or almost lacking. 

Roding flight generally takes place at about 10 to 20 
m above ground level, and the birds take a roughly oval 
or circular route (hence passing a stationary observer 
every 3-5 minutes) over both relict forest patches and 
open areas with cultivation or bracken Pteridium. This 
route probably encompasses an individual’s range, which 
may be 400 to 600 m in diameter or the length of the 
oval. On one occasion, Fisher placed himself between 
two roding circuits and, although the birds never met, 
their boundaries touched but did not overlap. 

Typically roding birds use distinctive fluttery wing- 
beats, and may dangle their legs below the body. Fisher 
and P. Morris have seen two individuals following each 
other closely in roding flight, with one or both birds 
noted as calling. Birds are easily tracked in flight due to 
their loud and distinctive vocalizations. 

Other breeding information 

While working for NORDECO, R. Fernandez located a 
presumed nest of the Bukidnon Woodcock, containing 
two nestlings (see cover), on about 5 September 1996 
on the Anlagan Plaza, a plateau at 2,600 m near the 
summit of Mt. Dulang-dulang in the Mt. Kitanglad 
Range on Mindanao. The plateau is generally open with 
a few scattered montane trees and many standing pools 
of water. The ground is carpeted with thick layers of 
moss, interspersed with ferns and soft low grasses. The 
putative nest, where Fernandez caught an adult and 
nestlings (which were photographed and then released), 
was a slight depression in the moss with a layer of dead 
and live grasses and ferns, not unlike the nest of S. 
saturata (van Gils andWiersma 1996). 

Gonad data were taken from four specimens, 
including the holotype. The males collected on 22 
January and 27 April had enlarged gonads measuring 
19 x 12 mm and 20 x 5 mm respectively. The females 
obtained on 27 April and 4 September also had enlarged 
ovaries, measuring 18x8 mm (with the largest ovum 
measuring 5x5 mm) and 17x9 mm respectively. 


VOCALIZATIONS 

Bukidnon Woodcock S’, bukidnonensis gives a loud and 
distinctive vocalization during roding display (Harrap 
and Fisher 1994, Kennedy et al. 2000). Other 
vocalizations may be given, but none has been recorded. 
The roding call of the Bukidnon Woodcock consists of 
a hard, metallic, rattled or staccato phrase, comprising 
4-6 motifs, each motif given at intervals of 0.05 sec 
(Figure 4a, also figure in Harrap and Fisher 1994).This 
rattle phrase may be written as ti’ti’ti’ti’ti or as Kennedy 
et al. (2000) described it pip’pip’pip’pip’pip. Each motif 
(Figure 4a) has a distinctive structure, being comprised 
of a distinct pulse (c. 3 kHz rising to c. 5 kHz) connecting 
with a concurrent higher-pitched curled syllable (c. 6 
kHz rising to c. 7.2 kHz and falling to 5.7 kHz). On the 
sonagram these combine to form a trace (like a walking 
stick). The rattle phrase is given at intervals of 2.4-3.0 
sec, sometimes up to 5.5 sec, and is interspersed by 
much lower-pitched growling or grunting phrases, which 
are generally given in groups of 2-3 and sometimes up 
to 6 phrases, with another rather shortened phrase 
immediately preceding the next rattle. These grunts 
comprise a series of simple units, c. 0.75-1.25 kHz, 
repeated every c. 0.01-0.13 sec in a phrase that last 0.25- 
0.30 sec (the shortened phrase preceding the rattle lasts 
c. 0.1 sec). On the sonagram the grunts appear as a 
distinctive series of short, closely spaced vertical bars or 
bands (Figure 4b).These grunts may be represented in 
words as burp burp burp or gro-a gro-a gro-a, and thus 

the roding song as TETETETETI. . burp burp burp.... 

TPTrTPTrTI. . burp burp burp....TrTPTrTPTI... 

or another interpretation PIP’PIP’PIP’PIP’PIP . gro- 

a gro-a gro-a.... PIP’PIP’PIP’PIP’PIP. . gro-a gro-a 

gro-a... "PIP’PIP’PIP’PIP’PIP (Figure 4c). Notably, the 
rattle is much louder than the grunt phrase and may be 
heard at a greater distance. 

The known vocalizations of other OldWorld woodcock 
species compare as follows to those of the Bukidnon 
Woodcock. 

Scolopax rusticola — The roding song of the male is made 
up of 2-5 slow but accelerating deep croaking phrases 
(the ‘snore’ notes, main energy c. 1 kHz, but showing 
harmonics at c. 3 kHz and 5 kHz), comprised of simple 
units repeated at c. 0.02 sec intervals showing again as 
closely spaced bands (Figure 4d), uttered with the bill 
shut and air sacs inflated. The snore notes are closely 
followed by a sudden loud shrill sneeze motif (‘sneeze’ 
note, main energy c. 4-12 kHz, duration c. 0.1 sec and 
showing as an inverted ‘V’ on the sonagram), given with 
the bill open. Each complete sequence is mechanically 
repeated after intervals of 2-2.5 sec, e.g. quorr quorr- 
quoroPIETZ.. .quorr quorr-quoro-PIETZ... (Figure 4e). 
The snore notes are only audible at close range, and the 
sneeze notes often sound disyllabic at longer ranges 
(‘chissick’).The song may be individually recognizable, 
and although usually of a constant composition, birds 
may add or subtract snore notes. Imperfect songs may 
be given at the beginning and end of the breeding season 
(Cramp and Simmons 1983). 







10 


R. S. KENNEDY et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Scolopax saturata — We have been unable to locate 
recordings of the vocalizations of nominate saturata from 
Sumatra and Java. In the taxon rosenbergii, from New 
Guinea, the roding song consists of a single motif with 
a distinctive nasal ‘whooshing’ quality, showing as an 
inverted comma on the sonagram, starting at c. 3 kHz, 
dropping to c. 1.5 kHz and dten rising to c. 7 kHz (Figure 
4f).The motif lasts c. 0.8 sec and can be written chuuwi. 
These chuuwi motifs are repeated every c. 2-2.5 sec and 
are interspersed with a series of lower-pitched grunting 
phrases, given in a series of 3-8 motifs, each phrase c. 
0.3 sec long and comprising simple units, main energy 
c. 1 kHz, given every c. 0.01 sec). On the sonagram they 
display a banded pattern (Figure 4g).Thus the phrase 
may be written chuuwi. . .quorr-quorr-quorr-quorr- 
quorr... chuuwi... quorr-quorr-quorr-quorr-quorr.... 

Scolopax mira —This species evidently does not perform 
a roding flight or give a roding call (Brazil and Ikenaga 
1987, M. A. Brazil in Iitt. 2000). A call of this species 
has very recently been published (Kabaya and Matsuda 
2001) but, in our view, is not a roding call and it is, 
therefore, not discussed further here. 

Scolopax celebensis — This species makes short flights 
over the treetops at dusk, but its vocalizations are 
unknown (Coates and Bishop 1997, K. D. Bishop in 
litt. 2000). 

Scolopax rochussenii — Vocalizations unknown. This 
species is known from just eight specimens. 

The three species of Old World Scolopax known to give 
vocalizations in roding flight and for which data are 
available clearly show close similarities. Scolopax 
bukidnonensis, S. rusticola and A. saturata rosenbergii all 
have a low-pitched (main energy c. 1 kHz) grunt phrase 
of remarkably similar structure (simple, rapidly repeated 
elements showing as a banded pattern on a sonagram) 
interspersed with a higher-frequency, louder and more 
complex rattling, sneezing or whooshing motifs. The 
grunt vocalizations thus appear to be more primitive 
for woodcock, whilst the higher-pitched calls are 
probably of more recent origin. Despite the similarity 
of the grunt call, all three species are nevertheless clearly 
distinct vocally. However, recordings of the roding calls, 
if these exist, are still needed for celebensis , rochussenii 
and nominate saturata. 


CONSERVATION STATUS 

The Bukidnon Woodcock appears to be locally common 
above 900 m on the mountains on which it has been 
recorded. Apparently it had been overlooked because 
of its crepuscular roding behaviour and nocturnal 
feeding habits or because it was assumed to be the 
Eurasian Woodcock and, if seen when flushed, it had 
simply not been identified. For example, this clearly 
seems to be the case on Mt. Kitanglad where relatively 
recent expeditions (Salomonsen 1953, Ripley and Rabor 
1961) did not collect or observe the birds. In addition, 
earlier collectors, mainly using guns to obtain specimens, 
would have had a difficult time shooting the birds when 


they burst from the forest floor and flew off out of range 
in the dense montane forest. The earlier specimens, all 
from Dalton Pass, Luzon, were caught at night with large 
dip nets, as the birds were attracted to and dazzled by 
bright lights. All other specimens, except those caught 
by the skilled hand of R. Fernandez, were mist-netted. 
Now that the call, roding habits, and habitat of the 
species are known, we expect that the species will be 
found on other mountains on Luzon and Mindanao, 
and perhaps on other islands. 

Forests throughout the Philippines have for the most 
part been cleared or disturbed below 1,000 m. Above 
1,000 m, except in parts of the Cordillera Mountains of 
Luzon and selected flatter slopes or plateaus elsewhere, 
the montane and montane mossy forests are in 
reasonably good condition. For the most part these 
forests are in extremely rugged terrain that is not 
conducive to farming, and they have few commercial 
trees for logging. Although the Bukidnon Woodcock has 
a restricted range (in terms of area of occupancy), we 
do not therefore believe that it is immediately threatened 
or of conservation concern in the foreseeable future. 


REMARKS 

Combining plumage, mensural, vocalization and 
behavioural differences with its isolation in the 
Philippines from other species, also with very restricted 
ranges, we conclude that the Bukidnon Woodcock has a 
unique evolutionary history and should be recognized 
as a distinct species. We are well aware of the recent 
debates over the ‘species concept’ (Zink 1996, Snow 
1997, among others) and regardless of which concept 
one follows, i.e. biological or phylogenetic, we believe 
that this species would be recognized. Frozen tissues of 
the Bukidnon Woodcock are available at the Cincinnati 
Museum of Natural History for those who wish to 
pursue phylogenetic studies of this species. 

EURASIAN WOODCOCK IN THE 
PHILIPPINES 

As noted earlier the two previous records of the Eurasian 
Woodcock were of specimens obtained in 1929 and 1931 
and lost when the National Museum of the Philippines 
was destroyed during World War II. There are no recent 
records of this species from Philippines. The fact that 
the Bukidnon Woodcock is now known to be widespread 
on Luzon and Mindanao casts doubt on the identity of 
the two earlier records. However, the earlier specimens 
were obtained in the lowlands of Luzon and there is no 
evidence that Bukidnon Woodcock frequent the 
lowlands. In addition, the measurements of the 1929 
specimen, taken from McGregor and Manuel (1936), 
were as follows: wing 195 mm, tail 83 mm, tarsus 35 
mm and culmen length 75 mm; these accord much 
better with 5. rusticola than with S. bukidnonensis. We 
therefore recommend that the lowland-dwelling 
Eurasian Woodcock remain on the list of Philippine birds 
as a rare migrant. 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


A new species of woodcock from the Philippines 


1 1 


SYSTEMATIC NOTES ON OTHER 
WOODCOCK 

As we compared all the other species and subspecies of 
woodcock to the Bukidnon Woodcock, we began to see 
unique or similar characters in each species or 
subspecies. In fact, in our analysis of the mensural data 
for each species/subspecies, we found that we could 
match each specimen to its correct taxonomic unit based 
on measurements alone. 

We agree with the widely accepted recognition of 5. 
rusticola, S. mira (Brazil and Ikenaga 1987) and 5. 
rochussenii as full species. Also, we agree with Stresemann 
(1932, 1941) and Greenway (1978), contra White and 
Bruce (1986), that the two populations of 5. celebensis 
be recognized subspecifically based largely on differences 
between them in culmen chord (S. c. celebensis culmen 
chord in mm—mean 92.7, SD ± 0.3, n = 3, range 92.4- 
93.1; S', c. heinrichi —mean 81.7, ±0.4, n = 2, range 81.3- 
82.2). 

However, we do not agree with the treatment of 5. 
saturata as one species with two subspecies. Rather we 
believe that each subspecies should be recognized as 
monotypic species 5. saturata and 5. rosenbergii and base 
our conclusions on the following differences: 

Mensural differences — (see Table 1) A. saturata is similar 
to S', rosenbergii in bill height and bill width at feather 
line, width of bill at tip, length of longest toe, and 
wing-point difference; but 5. rosenbergii is significantly 
(P < 0.05) larger than S', saturata in wing chord, tail 
length, tarsus length and culmen chord. 

Plumage differences — S’, rosenbergii differs from S', saturata 
by having the Dusky Brown upperparts mottled with 
Cinnamon Rufous much darker and loosely barred; 
by having the white malar spots and supraloral spots 
well developed and conspicuous; by having a white 
chin, darker Dusky Brown throat, breast and belly 
with narrow Cinnamon bars on throat and breast, 
white barring and feathers tipped white on lower 
breast and belly, and some narrow Drab bars on 
flanks and mixed in with the white in the belly. S’. 
saturata has the chin Pale Horn Color, and the throat, 
breast and belly finely barred and/or mottled with 
Dusky Brown and Drab, and a white band between 
breast and belly. 

Distribution and habitat — All five of the Asian/Papuasian 
woodcock share similar habitats and altitudinal 
ranges. They all appear to be sedentary, with little 
movement outside of their habitat and altitudinal 
range. The unique plumage, size and highly restricted 
range of S’, rochussenii clearly demonstrate this. The 
fact that two subspecies of S. celebensis occupy 
different mountain areas but on the same island also 
demonstrates this. The distance between suitable 
habitat of S', rosenbergii on New Guinea and S. saturata 
on Java is no less than 2,500 km. Clearly the amount 
of gene flow between these sedentary populations is 
likely to be nil or so close to nil that it would not 
matter. For all intents and purposes they are isolated 
populations of woodcock 

Combining the differences in plumage and 
measurements, and taking into account the distance 
between the populations, we consider them unique 
evolutionary units. We suggest that S. saturata be called 


the Javan Woodcock, and that S’, rosenbergii be known as 
the New Guinea Woodcock in keeping with the 
geographical names of all the other known species of 
woodcock. 


SPECIMENS EXAMINED 

Scolopax bukidnonensis (Luzon and Mindanao) — 1 male 
(CMNH); 1 female (DMNH); 1 male, 1 female 
(FMNH); 1 male (MSU-IIT); 1 unknown (NMP); 
1 male, 1 female (to be deposited in NMP). 

S’, c. celebensis — 1 male, 1 unknown (AMNH); 1 
unknown (USNM); 1 male (UBMN). 

S. c. heinrichi — 1 male (AMNH); 1 male (UBMN). 

S. mira — 4 males, 3 females, 1 unknown (AMNH); 1 
male (MCZ); 1 unknown (USNM). 

S’, rochussenii — 1 female, 1 unknown (AMNH); 2 
females (USNM). 

S’, rosenbergii — 18 males, 5 females, 5 unknown 
(AMNH); 1 male (BM). 

S’, rusticola Qapan and China) — 6 males, 6 females, 2 
unknown (AMNH); 2 males, 2 unknown (MCZ); 4 
males, 4 females, 5 unknown (USNM). 

S’, saturata (Java and Sumatra) — 1 male (AMNH); 1 
male (MCZ); 5 males, 5 females (NNM); 1 male, 1 
female (USNM). 

We are pleased to dedicate this paper to our friend and field col¬ 
league, Renato E. ‘Boying’ Fernandez, who has seen, heard and iden¬ 
tified the Bukidnon Woodcock on Mt. Kitanglad and Mt. Malindang 
on Mindanao, and at Balbalasang and almost certainly Dalton Pass 
on Luzon; and to the late Mrs Eugene Farny, a silent friend to Phil¬ 
ippine conservation through her support of Kennedy’s efforts in the 
Philippines for more than two decades. Both of these extraordinary 
people have helped Philippine conservation in two dramatically dif¬ 
ferent ways. 

We are grateful for the help and cooperation of the staff of the De¬ 
partment of Environment and Natural Resources, particularly the 
Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau. In Mindanao, we received 
support from F. Mirasol (Park Superintendent for Mt. Kitanglad) 
and C. Marban, C. Vertudas, and R. Geollegue (DENR) for coop¬ 
eration in our 1995 biodiversity survey of Mt. Kitanglad. The untir¬ 
ing efforts of our field colleagues J. Brown, R. Fernandez, C. Gamara, 

C. and A. Maghanoy, P. Magsalay, and R. Agustin, G. Balaquit and 

D. Cedeno (Philippine Eagle Foundation, Inc.) are greatly appreci¬ 
ated.The Mt. Malindang biodiversity inventory undertaken by CARE 
Philippines in cooperation with the Haribon Foundation thanks B. 
Tabaranza, A. Tabaranza, A. Bagaloyos, A. Dimapilis, R. Fernandez 
and N. Antoque of Haribon; R. Baylomo, A. Rubio, M. Merza, A. 
Pestano, I. Pestano, G. Bais, D.Talpis and E. Macabodbod of CARE 
Philippines; R. Dingal (Park Superintendent for Mt. Malindang), R. 
Garana and D. Ramirez (DENR-PAO); Mayor R. Luna and N. Cajeta 
of Don Victoriano; and field assistants A. Gumilid, L. Valdez, D. 
Mundo, R. Emia, J. Jalalon, P. Sol, D. Arcilla, M. Cabatuan, L. 
Bulaybulay, R. Emia and D. Valdez. In the Balbalasang-Balbalan 
National Park biodiversity project, we acknowledge N. A. Mallari, B. 
Tabaranza, G. Gee, M. Babao, R. Fernandez, N. Antoque (all from 
the Haribon Foundation), and L. Heaney , D. Davison , C. Aquino 
(DENR), and the people of Balbalasang including Barangay Cap¬ 
tain B. Banganan, Mayor R. Dakiwag , B. Malaga and B. Dalunag. 
We thank the curators and staff of American Museum of Natural 
History (AMNH), Universitat zu Berlin Museum fur Naturkunde 
(UBMN), British Museum—The Natural History Museum (BM), 
Museum of Natural History—Cincinnati Museum Center (CMNH), 
Delaware Museum of Natural History (DMNH), Field Museum of 
Natural History (FMNH), Harvard Museum of Comparative Zool- 



12 


R. S. KENNEDY et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


ogy (MCZ), Natural History Museum, Mindanao State University— 
Iligan Institute ofTechnology (MSU-IIT), National Museum of the 
Philippines (NMP), Netherlands Naturalis—Leiden (NNM), and 
United States National Museum—Smithsonian Institution (USNM) 
for the loan of specimens or access to specimens in their care. We 
express our appreciation to S. Pelikan for help with statistical analy¬ 
sis; D. Quilligan for clerical assistance; P. Longford and Oxford 
University Press for providing the map; R. Ranft (National Sound 
Archive [NSA], British Library), and G. Budney and A. Priori (Li¬ 
brary of Natural Sounds, Cornell) for help with recordings and 
sonagrams; D. Clayton and S. Al-Tamimi for allowing us to use the 
Mt. Kitanglad specimens they collected; F. J. Saguindang for allow¬ 
ing us to examine the specimen she collected; M. Brazil, K. Bishop, 
D. Allen, K. Ishida, B. King and F. Verbelen for information and 
assistance; D. Davison for information on the Balbalasang records; 
and A. Jensen and C. Nozawa of NORDECO for allowing us to 
examine the Mt. Dulang-dulang specimen. Allan P. Sutherland gra¬ 
ciously provided the cover and frontispiece. Kennedy is particularly 
grateful to L. A. Butler for her generous hospitality in Manila; Out¬ 
door Adventures for their unfailing assistance with field equipment; 
P. J. Diehl and Oxbow Power Company for funding the 1995 survey 
of Mt. Kitanglad; G. Perbix for his encouragement; and Jan and Joe 
Herron for their generous support of Kennedy’s Philippine studies. 
N. J. Collar and P. C. Rasmussen kindly reviewed the manuscript 
and offered helpful suggestions. This is contribution No. 28 of the 
NMP/CMNH Philippine Biodiversity Inventory. 


REFERENCES 

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Brazil, M. A. and Ikenaga, H. (1987) The Amami Woodcock Scolopax 
mira: its identity and identification. Forktail 3: 3-16. 

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of the Philippines. Tring: British Ornithologists’ Union (Check¬ 
list No. 12). 


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ers, snipes and phalaropes): Species accounts. Pp. 489-533 in J. 
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Jr. and Fisher, T. H. (2000) A guide to the birds of the Philippines. 
Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

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London: The British Library. 

McClure, H. E. and Leelavit, P. (1972) Birds banded in Asia during 
the MAPS Program, by locality, from 1963 through 1971. U. S. 
Army Research and Development Group, Far East, Report No. 
FE-315-7. 

McGregor, R. C. and Manuel, C. G. (1936) Birds new and rare in 
the Philippines. Phil. J. Sci. 59: 317-326. 

MacKinnon, J. and Phillipps, K. (1993) A field guide to the birds of 
Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Ripley, S. D. and Rabor, D. S. (1961) The avifauna of Mount 
Katanglad. Postil/a 50 1-20. 

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La Mure, France: Sittelle. 

Salomonsen, F. (1953) Miscellaneous notes on Philippine birds. 
Vidensk. Medd. Dansk Naturhist. Foren. 115: 272-281. 

Sibley, C. G. and Monroe, B. L., Jr (1990) Distribution and taxonomy 
of birds of the world. New Haven: Yale University Press. 

Smithe, F. B. (1975) Naturalist’s color guide. New York: American 
Museum of Natural History. 

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can Museum of Natural History. 

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logenetic species concept? Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 117: 110-121. 

Stresemann, E. (1932) Vorlaufiges iiber die ornithologischen Ergebnisse 
der Expedition Heinrich 1930-1932: VII. Zur Ornithologie von 
Siidost-Celebes. Orn. Monatsber. 40: 104-115. 

Stresemann, E. (1941) Die Vogel von Celebes. J. Orn. 89: 1-102. 

White, C. M. N. and Bruce, M. D. (1986) The birds ofWallacea. Tring: 
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tion. J Avian Biology 27: 1-6. 


Robert S. Kennedy, Frederick and Amey Geier Collections and Research Center, Museum of Natural History & Science, 
Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, OH, 45203 USA; and Maria Mitchell Association, 4 Vestal 
Street, Nantucket, MA 02554 U.S.A. 

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Simon C. B. Harrap, 1 Norzvich Road, Edgefield, Melton Constable, Norfolk, NR24 2RP, UK. 

Arvin C. Diesmos, De La Salle University-Dasmarihas, Cavite, Philippines; and Wildlife Conservation Society of the 
Philippines 

Arturo S. Manamtam, CARE Philippines, D15 dock Ay Valley, Baybay, Maningcol 7200 Ozamiz City, Philippines 




FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 13-19 


Taxonomic status of the Negros Bleeding-heart 
Gallicolumba keayi from Panay, Philippines, 
with notes on its behaviour* 

E. CURIO 


Following the discovery of a new population of the Negros Bleeding-heart on Panay, a first, yet 
very incomplete, account of the species’s behaviour is given and illustrated by photographs of a 
live male. A clutch in March contained two eggs. Neither the morphometries nor the coloration of 
three adult birds, this male included, from the north-west Panay peninsula indicate that the Panay 
birds are any different from the earlier described Negros form. Errors in the earlier descriptions, 
based entirely on museum skins, are corrected. One female showed an anomalous central tail 
feather. Currently, data on body mass and behaviour are known only for individuals from Panay. 
A new way of protectively closing the eyes, not noticed in birds before, is described; it is employed 
whilst picking up bulky insect prey and also when the head is tucked into the plumage while 
preening. The similarity of the two island forms of the species reflects the close faunal resemblance 
of the two Visayan islands that is further underscored by the recent publication of more than 60 
new distributional records of birds from Panay previously known from Negros only. 


Clarke (1900) described a new bleeding-heart 
Gallicolumba keayi , based on three specimens from 
Negros island, Philippines, obtained from MrW. A. Keay, 
the owner of a sugar plantation. Clarke’s description 
was enlivened by a colour plate prepared by J. G. 
Keulemans that got most details correct (see below). 
The Negros species was the last of the five Philippine 
endemic bleeding-hearts to be discovered (Dickinson 
et al. 1991). Unlike G. luzonica and G. criniger from the 
Luzon and the Mindanao regions, respectively, that have 
often been kept in bird collections, the Negros form 
had not been recorded in captivity, so that its appearance 
and behaviour remained virtually unknown. The same 
holds true for both the Sulu Bleeding-heart G. menagei 
(D. Allen, pers. comm. 1999) and the Mindoro Bleeding- 
heart G. platenae , though pictures of a captive platenae 
have been published recently (Brooks et al. 1995). 
Attention to the plight of all three critically endangered 
forms (BirdLife International 2001) has been drawn by 
a full-colour poster painted by W. L. R. Oliver. Extensive 
deforestation taking place throughout the country 
(DENR 1997) is threatening all forest birds, and the 
risk of extinction is exacerbated for single-island 
endemics such as the three bleeding-hearts mentioned. 

Following up hints received from both 
conservationists (Diesmos and Pedregosa 1995) and 
hunters in the Valderama (near Mt. Baloy) and 
Malumpati areas (north-west Panay), the Philippine 
Endemic Species Conservation Project (PESCP) 
diligently searched for signs of the Negros Bleeding- 
heart on Panay from 1995 when its explorations started. 
As a result, project members discovered the bird in 
Lahang forest (Municipality of Libertad, Antique) in 
1996 and, later the same year, also in nearby Sibaliw 
(Municipality of Buruanga, Aklan) (Klop et al. 1998), 
in both primary and secondary-growth forest at 450 m. 


Our search in good forest at 950 m near Mt Baloy 
(Hamtang above Nawili) did not meet with success. On 
Negros, the pigeon occurs at ‘higher elevations’, i.e. 
around 1,000 m. But this may not reflect a true 
preference as all forest below 800 m has been cleared. 
In the course of our banding operations, three bleeding- 
hearts were captured near the Research Station Sibaliw, 
thanks to the skills of our field assistant ‘June’ Benjamin 
Tacud. One of them was put into a well-planted 
rehabilitation cage (5 x 3 x 2.5 m) as per a Memorandum 
of Agreement with the Department of Environment and 
Natural Resources (DENR). The cage was lined with 
very soft fishing net, thus forestalling injury. The 
behavioural observations and photography were carried 
out on this bird, while an account of the external 
appearance is based on all three birds. 

There is great interest in establishing the taxonomic 
status of the Panay bleeding-heart. If it proves not to 
differ from the Negros form, the risk of extinction of 
the species would be split. Behavioural data presented 
here, as well as blood samples, are available only from 
the Panay form, so comparison of the two populations 
has to rest entirely on morphological features. 

APPEARANCE AND MORPHOMETRICS 
Coloration 

The external appearance of all three birds matches the 
illustration by Keulemans (Clarke 1900), apart from the 
following important points (Plates I and II).The upper 
white breast is virtually embraced by a wide band of 
metallic-green feathers that taper off towards the 
midline. This shiny green band, together with the shiny 
bluish-green upper mantle merging into the lesser wing- 
coverts, encloses a band of white feathers that merges 


This paper is publication No. 24 of the Philippine Endemic Species Conservation Project (PESCP) of the Frankfurt Zoological 
Society. 


14 


E. CURIO 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


ventrally with the white of the breast. This white band 
extends towards the upper back and gives the impression 
of a second white wing-bar. Three study skins (Nos. 4 
to 6 in Table 1) that I inspected (only photos of Nos. 4 
& 5) revealed no indication of this conspicuous white 
band, obviously due to feather disarrangement during 
skin preparation. While such disarrangement of the 
lateral breast feathers made both the broad green lateral 
band and the white bar bordering it disappear on 
Keulemans’ plate, the colour illustration of G. keayi in 
Hachisuka (1931-1932) captures almost correctly the 
position and size of the former band. Whether the 
vestigial length of the white bar in the latter illustration 
is genuine and, hence a potentially discriminating 
character, needs to be determined by study of live birds 
from Negros. 

The blood red breast patch is narrow, usually no 
wider than 5 mm, and c. 26 mm long, but its shape may 
change due to the activities of the bird (Plates I and II). 
This name-giving trait has been seen correctly 
(Hachisuka 1931-1932), or has been painted far too 
wide (Clarke 1900). The narrow shape of this patch 
renders G. keayi distinct from all other bleeding-hearts. 

The white wing-bar is formed by the two to three 
most distal rows of lesser wing-coverts, the grey base of 
which, however, cannot be seen in life (contra Clarke 
1900). The latest descriptions (Hachisuka 1931-1932, 
Delacour and Mayr 1946, duPont 1971) ascribe this 
wing-bar only to G. keayi ; yet a close inspection of a 
skin of G. platenae (Museum fur Naturkunde, Berlin) 
and of photos of one live bird (Brooks et al. 1995) reveal 
one upper prominent, or even a smaller second, white 
wing-bar in this species, too (colour poster of G. keayi , 
G. platenae by PESCP, 1997). 

Clarke (1900) described the greater and median 
upper wing-coverts to be ‘purplish chestnut’ throughout, 
while other authors do not mention them (Delacour and 
Mayr 1946, duPont 1971), or reiterate his account 
verbatim (Hachisuka 1931-1932). Our first bird (No. 1, 
Table 2) shows only the greater and median coverts of 
the secondaries to be thus coloured, whereas the primary 
coverts are blackish (photos of spread wing). A close 
inspection of colour photos of both the holotype and 
co-type (courtesy of R. McGowan, Edinburgh) revealed 
no obvious difference from this pattern in the Panay 
bird. Hence, the original description needs an 
amendment in this regard as well. 

The colour of the soft parts was assessed both 
verbally and with the use of colour charts (Kiippers 
1991) (Table 1). While we agree with the then verbal 
accounts of earlier authors (Clarke 1900, Hachisuka 


1931-1932, Delacour and Mayr 1946, duPont 1971), 
all of them failed to notice the violet tinge of the red iris 
that we found in (at least) two of the three birds. Oliver’s 
poster has the iris yellowish. 

Morphometries 

Table 2 gives the measurements of our three Panay 
bleeding-hearts (I) and 10+ study skins from various 
collections, the holotype and one co-type (Nos. 4 & 5) 
included (II). In one case (Hachisuka 1931-1932), the 
number of skins examined is not given. Measurements 
were taken by the curators of the collections approached 
to forestall the loss of the material. One exception from 
this was No. 6. There is wide overlap of measurements 
between the two samples, and the overall values of the 
Negros birds (II) fall squarely in the range of the limited 
sample of Panay birds. There is one exception (No. 6) 
where two bill measurements exceed those for Panay. 

The tail length is problematic. Whereas one source 
(Hachisuka 1931-1932) gives 100 mm as the lower end 
of the range for Negros, this is not reached by any other 
measurement (an anomaly [Table 2, footnote 2] 
excluded). Even allowing for shrinkage of tissue in skins 
(Svensson 1975, Jenni and Winkler 1989), this would 
not account for the difference between the longest 
individual tails in Table 2 and the range mentioned by 
Hachisuka (1931-1932). Strangely, another discrepancy 
between data on specimen labels (Nos. 4 and 5), i.e. 
when collected in the fresh state and those from the 
skins now, runs counter to the expectation based on 
shrinkage and, thus, remains unexplained. In conclusion, 
the scanty data at hand give no hint as to a size difference 
between Negros and Panay bleeding-hearts. 

One individual from Panay had an anomalous tail 
feather tip (No. 2,Table 2). 

The total length and the body mass of the three Panay 
birds (Nos. 1 to 3) amounted to 243, 250 and 259 mm 
and to 175, 176 and 206 g, respectively. No comparison 
with the Negros birds is possible. 


BEHAVIOUR 

One adult male (No. 1, Table 2) was observed in the 
spacious rehabilitation cage. In view of the possible 
importance for future conservation breeding of this rare 
species and, as it was the first account of its kind for any 
bleeding-heart form (D. Goodwin in litt. 2000, A. 
Anzenberger in litt. 2000, A. Miinst in litt. 2000), notes 
on its behaviour are reported below. 


Table 1. Colour of soft parts and breast patch in three Negros Bleeding-hearts (Nos. 1 to 3) of Table 2 from Panay as 
assessed with the aid of Kiippers’ colour atlas (1991) and as judged by three observers qualitatively throughout. 


No 

Iris 

Beak 

Legs 

Breast patch 

1 

S20 Y30/M90 
violet red 

dark slaty grey 

S20 Y50/M90 
coral red 

S00 Y70/M99 
blood red 

2 

S 10 Y80/M80 
carmine red 

black 

S20 Y40/M90 
coral red 

S00 Y90/M90 
blood red 

3 

SdO Y10/M70 
violet red 

slaty grey 

S00 Y20/M99 
coral red 

S00 Y70/M99 
blood red 








Forktail 17 (2001) 


Taxonomic status of the Negros Bleeding-heart from Panay, Philippines 


15 


Table 2. Measurements (in mm, accuracy 0. 1 mm, where possible) of three live individuals of G. keayi from Sibaliw, 
Municipality of Buruanga, Antique Province, Panay (I); of museum skins from Negros (II). 


No 

Date 

Sex/ 

age 

Wing 1 

Tail 

Tarsus 

Bill to 
feathers 

Bill to 
nostrils 

Bill width 
/nostrils 

Culmen 
at base 

Remarks 

I 1 

8 Feb 99 

6 ad. 

149 

72 

37.6 

19.2 

11.1 

3.8 

5.9 

Sex determined from behaviour (text) 

2 

11 Nov 99 

9 ad. 

144 

90 2 

34.1 

17.9 

9.3 

3.9 

5.6 

Skin at station Sibaliw. Ovary 11x7, 
even-sized follicles 

3 

20 Mar 00 

<3 ad 

156 

93 

37.5 

17.6 

9.8 

3.5 

6.3 

Nail of left inner toe missing. 

*Sex judged by size 

II 4 

1899 

- 

158;157 

73 3 

36 

16.6 

9.8 

- 

- 

Nat. Museums of Scotland 

NMSZ 1900.116.31, Holotype 4 

5 

1899 

- 

147; 147 

63 3 

34 

18.0 

9.5 

- 

- 

NMSZ 1900.116.32, Co-type 4 

6 

30 Dec 59 

? ad. 

149;146 

81 

32 

16.5 

10.0 

5.0 

ca. 7.5 

Peabody Museum,Yale, No. 54310. 
Photograph with author. 

7 

10 May 50 

9 

146 

80 

32.0 

13.9 

8.8 


- 

Field Museum of Natural History 
FMNH 417944 

8 

10 May 50 

9 

145 

75 

28.3 

13.7 

8.1 

- 

- 

FMNH 417945 

9 

7 May 50 

9 iuv. 

139 

69 

29.7 

- 

- 

- 

- 

FNMH 209780 

10 

12 Apr 50 

6 ad. 

151 

77.0 

34.8 

16.7 

ca. 10.4 

- 

- 

FMNH 209779 

11 

3 May 50 

3 iuv. 

138.3 

72.1 

31.8 

ca. 20 

10.9 

- 

- 

FMNH 209778 

12 

6 May 49 

9 

142.2 

93.8 

34.2 

17.7 

7.6 

- 

" 

Delaware Museum of Natural 

History, DMNH 13637 

X 


- 

159 

100-104 

37 

18-22 

- 

- 

- 

Av. of unknown number of skins of 
either sex 5 

Arithmetic mean of individual 
or group measurements 
(skins only): 

147.3 6 

78.6 

33 

17.0 

9.4 

(5.0) 

(7.5) 

Where range is given, average taken 


1 Svensson’sl 1 ‘flattened wing’ method where feathers are not straightened on ruler. Two entries denote right and left wing. 

2 Vane of one of the two central rectrices ends in torsion of a 15 mm long tip (not contained in tail length above) of 2 mm width. The 
other centra! rectrix ends normally. 

3 Given on labels as 101 and 96 mm, respectively, while all other measurements are ‘within 1 mm or so of those written on the specimen 
labels’ (R. McGowan in litt. 1999) 

4 Colour prints, courtesy of Mr R. McGowan, NMS, with author. 

5 From Hachisuka; bill to feathers ‘culmen from base’ (p. 221). 

6 Where both wings were measured, average taken. 


Feeding 

Already on its second day in an acclimatization cage 
(60 x 50 x 40 cm), shielded off with white cloth that 
covered the only look-through wall, the bird took seeds 
from the ground. A bit later it took them from the filled 
bowl, on top of which freshly killed insects were placed. 
Insects were also placed on the ground.The seed mixture 
consisted of 40% oily seeds (sunflower seeds, dehusked 
cardy Cynara cardunculus ) and 60% mealy seeds (silver 
millet, durrha, wheat; no rye) (J. Nicolai pers. comm. 
1998). Corvimin, a top-quality multi-vitamin and 
mineral powder, was added to the diet twice a week. A 
weight control in October 1999, i.e. after eight months, 
revealed no weight loss. The food in the aviary, which 
became the bird’s standard home after five days, was 
enriched with both more and larger insects and berries. 
Small berries of Durum-on and Magdong-od (2.5-3 mm 
and 3-4 mm in diameter, respectively) were taken (Plate 
1,4), while slightly larger ones (Lawi-LawiTabaw) were 
rejected. The bird ate unripe berries (yellowish, orange 
or red) only after having eaten all the ripe ones, which it 
selected by sight alone. However, rejection was partly 
based on picking up the individual berries. The berries 
of Magdong-od were recognised as being ripe visually, 
even though these were purplish-red. Captive Luzon 
Bleeding-hearts are not keen on fruits of any kind (J. 


Nicolai, pers. comm.). Given this rather strict preference 
for tiny fruits, it came as a surprise when we found a 
relatively large seed without any traces of pulp (Plate I, 
6) in the gizzard of a female that had accidentally died 
(Table 2, No. 2; skin in station Sibaliw). The seed was 
many times the size of the smallest rejected berries. It 
belonged to a palm (Borassus or Borassodendron ) that 
has not yet been recorded from the Philippines, with 
representatives occurring on Borneo as the nearest place 
(H.-J. Tillich in litt.) Furthermore, mastication in the 
gizzard opened up the nutritious contents without the 
help of grit that is commonly taken up by ground doves. 
The captive male took up small pieces of grit, though. 

The appetite for insects in the aviary was so great 
that up to eight dead dragonflies Odonata (Plate I, 5 
and 7) were eaten less than 20 min after they were 
thrown on the ground of the cage. Similar-sized 
grasshoppers were taken as well. The bird seized the 
insect with (both?) eyes closed at the moment of impact 
(Plate I, 5), which never happened with berries, then 
threw the prey on the ground, without mandibulating 
it. After picking it up thus several times, it swallowed it. 
Dismembered wings and heads were eaten after the rest. 
Insects were clearly preferred over the seeds available 
all the time. Searching for food was facilitated by tossing 
leaves aside with the bill. 



















16 


E. CURIO 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


The protective eye closure when picking up an insect 
is remarkable. Not only did it occur when there was no 
prey movement but the motor pattern and context of 
eye closure is apparently undescribed for birds. When 
sleeping, a bird typically closes its eyes by raising the 
lower lid. The foraging bird under scrutiny half-closed 
its eyes by lowering the upper lid (Plate I, 5) or 
completely closed them by partly raising the lower lid 
simultaneously (photo). At the moment of impact the 
eyes were thus protected. While holding the insect 
securely, the eyes were kept wide open. 

The bird drank water by sucking as is typical for 
doves. Once it drank from a water-filled dry leaf in 
preference to the full bowl a few steps away. 

Preening 

The movements used in preening were the same as 
employed by many birds. Surprisingly, again the eyes 
were closed by lowering the upper lid before the bill 
was tucked into the ruffled feathers (Plate II, 8), i.e. in 
the same way as when picking up a larger insect (see 
above). But, in contrast, to the latter protective 
mannerism, the eye was reopened, while the head was 
raised, by pulling down the lower lid. (The movement of 
the upper lid could not be perceived.) The only 
interpretation possible is that, after the upper lid had 
closed the eye as documented, it gave way to the lower 
lid, which then reopened the eye during the raising of 
the head. 

Sun-bathing 

Like many other pigeon species, the bird walked into a 
sun spot on the floor, squatted down and tilted over the 
completely unfolded wing while rolling the body over 
the opposite side so that the wing’s outer surface touched 
the ground. Thereby the inner surface and the flanks 
became exposed to the sun. Seconds later, the wing was 
partly folded and returned to the basking position, or 
the bird stood up and walked back into the shade. 

Roosting 

In the forest, three birds were found sleeping on a young 
tree in the late evening of 24 April 1998, two of which 
sat side by side (Plate II, 9). The third one, higher up, 
flew off when disturbed. Later on, two were seen roosting 
together 3 m up in a young Palaquium luzoniense tree 
(23 March 1998). Roosting in a group may have been 
due to earlier breeding in March (see below), because 
bleeding-hearts normally stay by themselves during the 
day (c. 12 observations); only once were two birds seen 
together (12 February). In the aviary, the lone bird 
roosted both under the roof at one end and in the open. 
It seemed to prefer rather thin twigs providing a stronger 
and safer hold for the feet, even if there was no rain 
shelter (see also Plate II, 9). 

Vocalizations 

These were recorded with a SonyTC-D5M recorder 
and a dynamic microphone. The male sang most 
commonly from September and October 1999 through 
to March 2000, between near dawn (c. 05hl0) and near 
dusk (17h00), usually from the top of the shelter (Plate 
II, 10). In addition to the loud songs there were two 
monosyllabic hu calls and one unrecorded bisyllabic 
hulm call of a distinctly different sound quality but 


) h t 


!; 1 n J ( I W' 




2 Time [s] 



imiiHUKHHUimimn 

1 2 Time [s] 


mm* ••>»(« 


•*• iitmti 


o 


Time [s] 


Fig. 1. Sonagrams of vocalisations in October 99 of same 
male as in Plate I & II. KAY DSP-Sonagraph, model 5500. 
Background noise removed, a., b.Two different songs with 
28 and 30 syllables, respectively, c. ‘Extended’ song with 78 
syllables, following hu sound after ca. 1 s. 



Fig. 2. Sonagram of monosyllabic ‘hu’ sound from the 
same continuous recording as in Fig. 2, preceding a song by 
1.3 s; analysed with AVISOFT-SASLAB-PRO software. 
Note the difference from ‘ hu ’ in Fig. 2 c. 


inserted into bouts of song. The songs consisted of trills 
of rapidly repeated syllables with possibly up to three 
harmonics, with their major energy at around 0.5 kHz 
(Fig. 1). In spite of varying from 28 to 78 syllables, these 
trills always had a duration of about 2.4 s. Between trills 
the bird remained still or walked back and forth, 
sometimes flying down and up again. Trills were even 
sung in the acclimatization cage when the bird was 
suffering from a leg injury in October. On two occasions 
trills were preceded by two very different soft hu calls 
(Fig. 1 c., Fig. 2). All the hu and huhu call versions were 
of low volume while the loud trills were long-distance 
signals, easily audible in the field. The high repetition 
rate of ca 3.5 trills per min, and the context, suggest 
trills to be territorial advertisement. A wild male gave c. 
11 songs/min, both before and after being flushed by 
humans (17 March 01,1 lh25). According to hunters’ 
reports, the Negros Bleeding-heart utters a soft coo and 
a high-pitched uu-oom. These calls allow them to 
distinguish the species from other doves (Emerald Dove 
Chalcophaps indica, White-eared Brown Dove Phapitreron 
leucotis ) (Diesmos and Pedregosa 1995).Though these 
calls might fit into the above account of the Panay bird, 
I find it strange that the major diagnostic vocalization 





















Forktail 17 (2001) 


Taxonomic status of the Negros Bleeding-heart from Panay, Philippines 


17 


should not be the much louder song trill (which has, 
however, not been reported for the Negros population). 

Visual displays 

Typically the lifting-wings display (Plate II, 11 and 13,) 
with maximally and rapidly raised wings is given at a 
rate of about one third of the song rate 1 or 2 s after a 
song. The body feathers are puffed out, giving the bird 
a much-enlarged appearance. At the end, during the 
slower down-stroke of the wings, portions of the wing- 
coverts including the white bar are selectively raised 
above the wing surface as to be visible from the front 
(Plate II, 13).The display accompanied a song only once 
and was given on the song post. An identical display is 
used by the Luzon Bleeding-heart male when courting 
the female, or when luring her to a place for nest-building 
(Miinst andWolters 1999).The lifting-wings display also 
occurs during courtship in the New Guinean Golden- 
heart Dove Gallicolumba rufigula( Coates 1985), though 
with the wings raised merely halfway up (J. Nicolai, pers. 
comm., photos), as is also typical of Marquesan Ground 
Dove G. rubescens (Gifford 1925).The display apparently 
arose before the Philippine radiation of the endemic 
bleeding-hearts and is, hence, expected to be common 
to all of them. 

Second, there is an extremely rapid double wing- 
beat, during which the wings are beaten twice at such a 
high speed that the double stroke can be only heard but 
not seen. The stroke does not lift the body at all. Like 
the lifting-wings display, the double wing-beat occurs 
also during song bouts but more rarely. Only once it 
occurred in a bout of preening. Being close-range signals, 
these displays surely have a different function than the 
songs. Produced in the absence of a conspecific they 
must be regarded as vacuum activities. 

Tameness 

During the day, flight distances of wild birds were noticed 
at 3, 10, 13 m and 10-15 m when birds took wing and 
settled again after a short flight. This level of tameness 
may lead to the species being easily overlooked as 
compared to all other pigeons of the area. The species’s 
rarity may therefore be more apparent than real. 

REPRODUCTION 

On 8 March 1999 Henry Urbina of PESCP found the 
only known nest of the species in primary forest near 
the Bulanao trail (Plate II, 12).The two eggs fell victim 
to a predator within a day of its discovery, thus 
precluding further observation. The nest was placed 
amidst the leaves of a birdnest fern Asplenium supported 
by fallen logs, and was clearly visible from above. The 
time of the year matches both joint roosting of groups 
(see above) and previous records both for G. platenae 
and G. luzonica, with nestlings found in May (Dickinson 
etal. 1991). 

The work of the PESCP is formalized under the aegis of a Memo¬ 
randum of Agreement with the Department of Environment and 
Natural Resources (Quezon City, Philippines). The help of the Pro¬ 


tected Areas andWildlife Bureau (DirectorW. S. Pollisco, then R. C. 
Bayabos), and RED J. Amador (DENR Region VI, Iloilo) is grate¬ 
fully acknowledged.The project is sponsored by the Frankfurt Zoo¬ 
logical Society. Further support came from the Andreas-Stihl-Foun- 
dation, the ABC (Advocates of Bird Conservation), the AZ (Ger¬ 
man Aviculturists’ Association), the Daimler Benz AG, Deutsche 
Lufthansa, German Ornithologists’ Society, Vitakraft-Werke and 
generous donations of Prof. Dr Mult. h.c. Ernst Mayr, Cambridge, 
Mass., USA, Mr B. Bacsal (Manila), and Mr H. Kessler von 
Sprengeisen, Manila. Further assistance came from project staff at 
Sibaliw, especially ‘June’ B. Tacud; S. Luft, J. Reiter (photography 
and recordings, pigeon rehabilitation); and from A. Anzenberger, O. 
Behlert (veterinary advice), S. Eck, D. Goodwin, C. Konig 
(sonagraphy), A. Miinst, J. Nicolai,T. Pagel (donation of colour plates 
by AZ), H. Schulze (illustrations, except Fig. 1), Prof. Dr H.-J.Tillich 
(identification of seed). The curators of museum bird departments 
supplied information on study skins in their custody: G. K. Hess 
(Wilmington, Delaware), R. S. Kennedy (Cincinnati), P. Lowther 
(Chicago), R. McGowan (Edinburgh), D. Willard (Chicago); R. 
McGowan in addition provided informative colour photos. To all 
these individuals and institutions I am immensely indebted. 


REFERENCES 

BirdLife International (2001) Threatened birds of Asia. Cambridge, 
U.K.: BirdLife International. 

Brooks,T., Dutson, G., Gabutero, L. andTimmins, R. (1995) Siburan 
- key area for birds on Mindoro. Oriental Bird Club Bull. 21: 28-33. 

Clarke, W. E. (1900) XVIII. - On some birds from the island of 
Negros, Philippines. Part IV. Ibis VI: 351-361. 

Coates, B. J. (1985) The birds of Papua New Guinea.Vo\. I. Alderley: 
Dove Publications. 

Curio, E., Hornbuckle, J., de Soye,Y., Aston, P. and Lastimoza, L. L. 
(in press) New bird species records for the island of Panay, Phil¬ 
ippines, including the first record of the Asian Stubtail Urosphena 
squameiceps for the Philippines. Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 

Delacour, J. and Mayr, E. (1946) Birds of the Philippines. New York: 
MacMillan Company. 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), United 
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bookmark, Inc. 
(1997) Philippine biodiversity. An assessment and action plan. Makati 
City, Philippines: Bookmark, Inc. 

Dickinson, E. C., Kennedy, R. S. and Parkes, K. C. (1991) The birds 
of the Philippines. BOU, Tring: British Ornithologists’ Union 
(Checklist No. 12). 

Diesmos, A. C. and Pedregosa, M. D. (1995) The conservation sta¬ 
tus of threatened species of bleeding-hearts (Columbidae) and 
hornbills (Bucerotidae) in the Philippines. Unpublished report. 
Wildlife Biology Laboratory, University of the Philippines, Los 
Banos, Laguna. 

duPont, J. E. (1971) Philippine birds. Delaware Mus. Nat. History. 

Gifford, E. W. (1925) The gray-hooded quail dove ( Gallicolumba 
rubescens ) of the Marquesas Islands, in captivity. Auk 42: 388-396. 

Hachisuka,M. (1931-1932) The birds of the Philippine Islands, I. Lon¬ 
don: Witherby. 

Jenni, L. and Winkler, R. (1989) The feather-length of small passe¬ 
rines: a measurement for wing-length in live birds and museum 
skins. Bird Study 36: 1-15. 

Klop, E. Curio, E. and de Soye,Y. (1998) A new population of bleed¬ 
ing-heart pigeon ( Gallicolumba sp.) and its conservation relevance 
on Panay, Philippines. J: Orn. 139: 76-77. 

Kiippers, H. (1991) DuMont’s Farben-Atlas. Cologne: DuMont 
Buchverlag. 

Miranda, H. C., Kennedy, R. S., Sison, R. V., Gonzales, P. C. and 
Ebreo, M. F. (2000) New records of birds from the island of 
Panay, Philippines. Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 120: 266-280. 

Miinst, A., and Wolters, J. (1999) Die Arten derWildtauben. Bottrop: 
K. Wolters, 2 nd edn. 

Svensson, L. (1975) Identification guide to European passerines. 
Stockholm: Naturhistoriska Rijksmuseet, 2 nd edn. 


E. Curio, Conservation Biology Unit, Faculty of Biology, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany; 
email: eberhard. curio@ruhr-uni-bochum. de 





18 


Forktail 17 (2001) 











Forktail 17 (2001) 


19 
















Plate I & II The same Bleeding-heart male (see Table 2, No. 1) in rehabilitation cage in Sibaliw, except for picture 9. 

1-3 At leisure 

4 & 5 Feeding on berries of durum-on and on dragonfly 

6 Large seed of unidentified tree; small fragments of the testa were chiselled off by the bird’s (No. 2, Table 1) 

gizzard, larger ones with pliers; mm scale 
Sizes of dragonflies eaten; scale = 20 mm 

8 Preening 

9 Two birds at roost, 2.5 m high 

10 Singing (see Fig. 1, a to c) 

11 & 13 Two phases of lifting-wings display 

12 Nest with eggs, ca 0.8 m above ground 


FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 21-28 


Ornithological records from Savannakhet Province, 

Lao PDR, January-July 1997 

T. D. EVANS 


Ornithological records are presented from several localities in Savannakhet Province, in particular 
areas along the main stream of the Mekong and a forest fragment close to Savannakhet town. The 
community of riverine birds was much poorer than had been found before 1949; four species still 
present are considered to be At Risk in Laos (GreatThick-knee Esacus recurvirostris, River Lapwing 
Vanellus duvaucelii, River Tern Sterna aurantia , Grey Heron Ardea cinerea ) and three others 
Potentially At Risk in Laos (Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus , Small Pratincole Glareola 
lactea, Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii). Seven species were recorded for the first time in 
Central Laos: Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis , Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum, White¬ 
winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus, Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus , Bluethroat 
Luscinia svecica, Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus and Bright-headed Cisticola 
Cisticola exilis. The last of these seems to have extended its range in the past 50 years, presumably 
in response to extensive deforestation. 


INTRODUCTION 

The records in this paper provide new distributional or 
status information for birds from Lao PDR (hereafter 
‘Laos’). Most come from areas that have not been 
covered by other recent surveys. Both Thewlis et al. 
(1998) and Duckworth et al. (1999a) stress the value of 
fieldworkers publishing results which contribute to the 
knowledge of Lao birds’ status, especially for species of 
conservation concern. This is because the avifauna of 
Laos remains quite poorly known and, since much of 
the available information was collected before 1949, the 
present-day status of many species is even less well 
known. The great majority of recent information was 


gathered during extensive surveys during 1992—1998 
which concentrated on the protected areas system and 
resulted in a small number of papers (Duckworth 1996, 
Thewlis et al. 1996, Evans and Timmins 1998, 
Duckworth et al. 1998b,Thewlis et al. 1998, Evans et al. 
2000, Timmins and Tizard in prep.) and various 
unpublished reports. Data from these surveys were 
synthesized by Salter (1993) and this work was updated 
by Duckworth et al. (1999a). 

Order and taxonomy in this paper follow Inskipp et 
al. (1996). Scientific names are given in the text for 
species not listed in Appendix 2. Place names follow 
the most recent 1:100 000 topographic maps of the Lao 
PDR Service Geographique d'Etat. Locations of sites 


105°E 106°E 107°E 



Figure 1. Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR 







09 


T. D. EVANS 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


not listed in the gazetteer of Thewlis et al. (1998) are 
given in Appendix 1. All sites covered were in Central 
Laos ( sensu both King et al. 1975 and Duckworth et al. 
1999b) with the exception of one part of the Mekong in 
South Laos, noted in the text. For the purposes of this 
paper ‘recent records’ are those from 1990 until July 
1997. 


METHODS, STUDY SITES AND 
COVERAGE 

The author made birdwatching trips during his spare 
time whilst working in Laos during January—July 1997. 
Most records were collected opportunistically by day 
and on foot. A few journeys were also made along the 
Mekong in specially chartered motor-powered canoes. 
Sites mentioned in the text are shown on Figure 1. 

Mekong river 

Along the Mekong river three areas were visited: 
Savannakhet town and areas to the north and south. 
Most visits were to a group of four sandbars next to 
Savannakhet town. These are here numbered from 1-4 
from north to south. Bars 1 and 4 were long, low 
sandbars with gently shelving beaches around them. 
They are mostly bare or sparsely vegetated, but there 
was an area of tall dunes with cane grass on island 4. 
Neither had habitations or cultivation. Bars 2 and 3 were 
shorter and higher with steeper sides (sand cliffs in 
places) and more vegetation, including a few trees. Both 
were heavily cultivated and had huts built on them. The 
Thai town of Mukdahan stands on the opposite bank 
of the Mekong at this point. 

North of Savannakhet town the Mekong was visited 
from Ban Thahouaxang north to the mouth of Nam 
Thahao. The islands in this stretch include two large 
low sandbars and a variety of low rocky islets. On the 
Thai bank the town ofThat Phanom lies a few kilometres 
south of the Nam Thahao mouth. 

South of Savannakhet town the rapids at Keng Khan- 
Gneng near the mouth of the Xe Bang-Nouan were 
visited. This site was in South Laos ( sensu King et al. 
1975 and Duckworth et al. 1999b).The rapids are due 
to the constriction caused by extensive level rocky 
outcrops flanked by cliffs and topped with a confusion 
of large boulders. The stretch upstream to the mouth of 
Xe Banghiang was travelled by boat. The course was a 
mixture of rocky constrictions, rapids, rocky and sandy 
islets and wide open stretches lacking any such features. 
This part of the Mekong was similar to that in Phou 
Xiang Thong National Biodiversity Conservation Area 


(Evans et al. 2000), and forms part of the same 
geographical feature, the Khemmarat Rapids. Keng 
Khan-Gneng is about 25 km east of the Thai town of 
Khemmarat. 

During the rainy season almost all of the islets and 
outcrops along these three stretches are likely to be under 
water. 

Coverage is shown in Table 1. 

Phou Soun, Xepone District 

Phou Soun is a ridge at 180-400 m close to the Southern 
Forestry Extension Training Centre, Ban Dongsoun (2) 
(also known as Xepone orTchepone). It has quite steep, 
rocky flanks and supports degraded forest, much of it 
dominated by bamboo and the tree Lagerstroemia (and 
thus largely deciduous), but with patches of denser semi¬ 
evergreen forest.The surrounding lowlands are a mixture 
of scrub and cultivation and a bend of the Xe Banghiang 
river passes close by. Morning visits of 1-1.5 hours 
duration were made on eight dates from 19 February- 
18 March. 

Dong Nathat Conservation Area, Khanthabuli 
District 

Dong Nathat Conservation Area lies on flat terrain at 
140-170 m. Signs state that the reserve covers 83 km 2 
but the area of dense natural forest shown on 1987 
1:100,000 topographic maps is about 16 km 2 and since 
extensive parts of that area were observed to be short 
scrub in 1997 the true area of the surveyed block is 
probably 12 km 2 or less. A larger block of forest (32 
km 2 ) is shown on topographic maps about 4 km to the 
east and may also be included in the reserve. It is not 
known if this still exists. 

Most of the vegetation is logged semi-evergreen forest 
of varying quality—parts have been reduced to semi¬ 
evergreen scrub less than 5 nr tall, other areas still 
support a fairly complete canopy at 15-20 m. There is 
also a moderate number of mature Dipterocarpus alatus 
trees (many of them over 35 m tall and with diameter at 
breast height of 1-1.5 m). These were retained during 
logging, presumably to allow the continued harvesting 
of their resinous sap. 

In the centre of the reserve is Nong Khen (locally 
called Nong Lorn) which is a well vegetated, shallow, 
permanent lake covering a few hectares. 

The forest was visited for periods of 4-5 hours, 
starting soon after dawn, on the following dates: 26 
January, 9 and 16 February, 2 March, 4, 11, 18 and 25 
May and 6 July. It was also visited briefly at dusk on 18 
May. 


Table 1 Ornithological coverage along the Mekong River during 1997. 


Area 


Dates 


Savannakhet town Bar 1 
Savannakhet town Bar 2 
Savannakhet town Bar 4 
North of Savannakhet town 
South of Savannakhet town 

- Keng Khan-Gneng 

- boat trip to mouth of Xe Banghiang 


8 and 14 February, 21 March, 3, 10, 13 and 24 May 
11 February 

25 January, 15 February, 11 March, 4 May 
8 and 10 March 

29 and 30 March, 30 April, 1,20 and 21 May 

30 March 






Forktail 17 (2001) 


Ornithological records from Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR 


23 


RECORDS OF PARTICULAR INTEREST 

All bird species recorded at the sites visited are listed in 
Appendix 2. Records are discussed in more detail below 
if they provide new status information for species of 
conservation concern (Key species) or new distributional 
information (new records for Central Laos, clarifications 
of status or records which otherwise greatly extend the 
known Lao range of a species). Key species categories 
are given after the species name. They are At Risk in 
Laos, Potentially At Risk in Laos or Little Known in 
Laos (following Duckworth et al. 1999b). 

The community of birds associated with the Mekong 
channel during the dry season was much poorer than 
that recorded some 50 years earlier by David-Beaulieu 
(1949-1950).The two main additions are Bright-headed 
Cisticola and Yellow-vented Bulbul. At least the first of 
these has probably spread following deforestation, as 
discussed below. Of the historically-recorded 
community, Small Pratincoles, Little Ringed Plovers and 
various passerine species remain numerous. It is not clear 
that Blue-tailed Bee-eaters orWire-tailed Swallows were 
ever commoner than they now are in the stretches of 
river visited, but both have certainly declined elsewhere 
in the Lao Mekong. Many other species clearly have 
declined or disappeared. Great Thick-knees, River 
Lapwings and River Terns, once common, have declined 
greatly, as discussed in the species accounts. David- 
Beaulieu (1949-1950) also recorded the following 
conspicuous species (his assessment of abundance along 
the Mekong in brackets): Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis 
(quite frequent, especially at Savannakhet town), Black- 
bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda (extremely common), 
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus (very common), 
(Oriental) Darter Anhinga melanogaster (quite common), 
White-shouldered Ibis Pseitdibis (papillosa ) davisoni (very 
common along one Mekong tributary, by implication 
also present elsewhere). Painted Stork Mycteria 
leucocephala (present year round) and Black-necked 
Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus (occasional). White- 
rumped Gyps bengalensis, Slender-billed G. ( indicus ) 
tenuirostris and Red-headed Vultures Sarcogvps calvus 
were extremely common in the province, and would 
often have been seen by observers in the Mekong 
channel. Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis has not been 
recorded from the Savannakhet area since the 1870s 
(Harmand 1878-1879). Although small numbers of all 
these species may yet remain undetected in the areas 
visited, there have undoubtedly been severe declines of 
most or all of them. Similar collapses have been found 
in almost every part of Laos visited, making the large- 
river bird community one of the most threatened parts 
of the Lao avifauna, a fact attributed mainly to hunting 
pressure (Thewlis et al. 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999b). 
Many of these species are considered globally threatened 
or Near Threatened by BirdLife International (2000). 

It is interesting to note that the Keng Khan-Gneng 
to Xe Banghiang stretch, home to the only Great Thick- 
knees, River Terns and River Lapwings found, is 
dominated by ‘channel mosaic’ habitat. This matches 
the findings of Duckworth et al. (in press) who identified 
this as being the habitat richest in populations of 
declining riverine birds elsewhere in Laos. 


Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis 
Two flew south over Dong Nathat on the morning of 4 
May and nine flew north-east over Savannakhet town 
on the same evening. Historically David-Beaulieu (1949- 
1950) considered this species to be strictly a passage 
migrant during about 15 days at the start of the rainy 
season and he had only observed them around 
Savannakhet town. Earlier (David-Beaulieu 1944) he 
saw an isolated passage movement of an estimated 
several hundred bee-eaters past Phou Kobo, North Laos, 
at about 1,400 m on 26 April 1940; he identified them 
as Chestnut-headed but they seem more likely to have 
been Blue-throated. Recent records in Laos concern a 
party of 10 on the Nakay Plateau on 10 April 1994 
(Evans and Timmins 1998) and large numbers passing 
over Nam Theun Extension Proposed NBCA in early 
May 1996 (J.W. Duckworth in litt. 2000). Duckworth et 
al. (1999a) concluded that the seasonal status remained 
uncertain, but it may be only a passage migrant, and 
the current records lend support to that conclusion. J. 
W. Duckworth (in litt. 2000) points out that the species 
breeds in Vietnam in North and Central Annam so it 
may breed (or once have bred) in Laos too. Colonies in 
sandy banks would be very vulnerable to nest-robbery 
in Laos. 

Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus 

Potentially At Risk in Laos 

One or two around Keng Khan-Gneng on all visits until 
1 May, but none thereafter. The low numbers of recent 
records of this species in Laos and the small flock sizes 
observed have aroused some concern (Duckworth et al. 
1999a, Evans et al. in press) so it was recently included 
in the list of Key species. During his long residence in 
Savannakhet Province, David-Beaulieu (1949-1950) 
occasionally recorded small groups of this species in 
unspecified habitats and considered it much less regular 
than Blue-throated Bee-eater. 

Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis 
A party of three in breeding plumage on Bar 1, 
Savannakhet town, on 10 May. This is the first record 
for Central Laos. The only previous confirmed records 
are on the Mekong in South Laos in May 1996 (Evans 
et al. 2000), but there was a provisional record from 
Vientiane on 21 November 1994 (Duckworth et al. 
1999a). 

Great Thick-knee Esacus recurvirostris 

At Risk in Laos 

Two at Keng Khan-Gneng on 29 March, at least two 
on 30 April and three together on 1 May. The birds 
were conspicuous, particularly because they called often, 
especially in the evenings. None was recorded during 
evening visits on 20-21 May, when soldiers at the border 
post overlooking the rapids stated that the birds were 
no longer present. 

The species has been recorded in tiny numbers at a 
handful of sites on the Mekong and Xe Kong rivers in 
recent years but was formerly more common and 
widespread (Thewlis et al. 1998, Duckworth et al. 
1999a). Hunting, nest robbery and incidental 
disturbance are suspected to have caused the decline 
(Thewlis et al. 1998). It was formerly common along 
the Mekong in Savannakhet Province and was easily 




24 


T. D. EVANS 


Forktail 17(2001) 


found even on the sandbars in Savannakhet town 
(David-Beaulieu 1949-1950). 

The Lao language name at Keng Khan-Gneng is 
nok moowm (a different word from nok mourn used for 
imperial pigeons Ducula) and this is also the name used 
by people at another currently known Lao locality for 
this species, Ban Hangkhone in Champassak Province 
(pers. obs.). 

River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii 
At Risk in Laos 

None in extensive suitable habitat from Savannakhet 
town north to the mouth of Nam Thahao. At Keng 
Khan-Gneng there were at least six on 29 March, ten 
on 30 March, ten on 30 April and 16 on 20 May, all 
widely dispersed over the rocky areas and actively 
mobbing the observer. On 30 March upstream of Keng 
Khan-Gneng to the mouth of Houay Xa there were 
parties of eight and four, with no more from there to 
the mouth of the Xe Banghiang. These data were 
included in summary statistics used for a recent review 
of the status of this species in southern Laos (Duckworth 
ex al. 1998a). The occurrence in only one part of the 
Mekong visited in 1997 contrasts with the observation 
of David-Beaulieu (1949-1950) that they were very 
common along the Mekong and the Xe Banghiang. 

Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum 
Two on the island by Ban Houayhouaxang, 10 March. 
Three on Bar 1, Savannakhet town, on 13 May. These 
are the first records for Central Laos. All recent Lao 
records reviewed by Duckworth et al. (1998b) fell in 
April or May, suggesting spring passage migrants, and 
these records fit that pattern whilst extending the period 
of passage to early March. There is also a subsequent 
record from October, presumably of autumn passage 
migrants (Duckworth ex al. 1999b). 

Small Pratincole Glareola lacxea 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Commonly recorded on sandy and rocky islands along 
the Mekong. On 8 March there were at least 75 on the 
island by Ban Savang and three on the rapids at Keng 
Kahouang. On 10 March there were at least 35 on the 
island by Ban Thahouaxang. On 30 March parties of 
one, two and 30 were seen during a boat trip from Keng 
Khan-Gneng to the mouth of the Xe Banghiang and 
back. Minimum counts from the sandbars by 
Savannakhet town are given in Table 2. Note the increase 
in numbers through the dry season on both bars. The 
bars are less than 2 km apart and it seems likely that 
some interchange occurred between the two between 
visits; on no day were both bars visited. 

Many gave broken-wing distraction displays when 
Bar 4 was visited on 4 May and Bar 1 on 10 May, 
suggesting breeding was in progress. 

The large numbers present in the breeding colony 
close to Savannakhet town and in similar proximity to 
Vientiane town (Thewlis ex al. 1996) suggest that this 
species tolerates the existing, quite high levels of human 
disturbance. This contrasts with some other sandbar¬ 
nesting species, such as GreatThick-knee, River, Black- 
bellied and Little Terns Sxerna albifrons and River 
Lapwing, which have declined in Laos as a result of 
human pressure (Thewlis ex al. 1998). 


Table 2 Minimum counts of Small Pratincoles from two 
sandbars by Savannakhet town. 


Bar 

25/1 

8/2 

14/2 

15/2 

11/3 

21/3 

3/5 

4/5 

10/5 

13/5 

24/5 

1 


3 

2 



35 

37 


40 

50 

40 

4 

35 



36 

100 



200 





River Tern Sxerna auranxia 
At Risk in Laos 

One about 3 km upstream of Keng Khan-Gneng on 30 
March. There are few recent records of this species in 
Laos, most of them from Champassak Province (Thewlis 
ex al. 1998) and it has clearly undergone a severe decline 
since David-Beaulieu (1949-1950) found it‘extremely 
common; along the Mekong’. 

White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopxerus 
A party of 21 feeding near Bar 1, Savannakhet town on 
10 May. This is the first record for Central Laos. The 
only other published record for Laos was from the South 
in 1996 (Evans ex al. 2000) but one was seen along the 
Mekong channel separating Laos from Thailand at 
Chiang Khong on 21 May 1966 (E. C. Dickinson in 
Duckworth ex al. 1999a). 

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 
At Risk in Laos 

In January—February there was a daytime roost on Bar 
4 by Savannakhet town.The peak counts were 25 on 25 
January and 13 on 15 February. Individuals were seen 
on several occasions flying from there east over 
Savannakhet town at dusk, and flying back to roost 
between 06h00 and 08h00. One at Keng Kahouang on 
8 March and one at the mouth of Houay Xa on 30 
March. Records listed by Thewlis ex al. (1998) are of 
small, scattered wintering groups and individuals: the 
group of 25 noted above appears to be the largest 
recently reported from Laos except for a party of 38 
seen on the Mekong near Vientiane in early 1997 (T. 
Hansel, verbally, 1997). The sizes of these flocks were 
erroneously reversed by Duckworth ex al. (1999a) and 
the Savannakhet record erroneously attributed to J. A. 
Wolstencroft. The crepuscular or nocturnal behaviour 
of the Savannakhet town birds can be compared with a 
similar observation from the Pakxan wetlands (Thewlis 
ex al. 1998). 

Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus 
One seen feeding at the edge of Nong Khen, Dong 
Nathat, at dusk on 18 May. In Laos calling begins in 
May (Thewlis ex al. 1998) suggesting that this is the 
start of the breeding season. This species was formerly 
considered a Key species categorized as Little Known 
in Laos (Thewlis ex al. 1998) but there have since been 
many records in a range of habitats and it is not currently 
thought to be at risk in Laos (Duckworth ex al. 1999a). 
The record from Dong Nathat is further evidence of 
occurrence in degraded and fragmented forest areas 
during the breeding season and supports its downlisting. 
Although King ex al. (1975) list it for all of Laos, this is 
apparently the first documented primary record from 
Central Laos. 







Forktail 17 (2001) 


Ornithological records from Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR 


25 


Bluethroat Luscinia svecica 

By Savannakhet town, one on Bar 2 on 1 1 February 
and two on Bar 4 on 4 May. These are the first records 
for Central Laos. 

Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

On 8 March, two at Keng Kabao and four at Keng 
Kahouang. At Keng Khan-Gneng there were 20-30 on 
all visits until 1 May but only one on 20 May and none 
on 21 May. Two more parties of two were seen from 
there upstream to the mouth of Houay Xa on 30 March 
but none from there to the mouth of the Xe Banghiang. 
Three flew north past Savannakhet town on 10 May. 
These records accord with the pattern described by 
Thewlis et al. (1998) of pairs or small groups scattered 
along the Mekong wherever suitable rocky outcrops 
occur. The Houay Xa to Keng Khan-Gneng stretch is 
only a few kilometres from where David-Beaulieu (1949- 
1950) once saw thousands together on an unknown date; 
however, his records were associated with a particular 
complex of islands along the lower Xe Banghiang which 
was not reached on the current visit. 

Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier 

One at Keng Khan-Gneng on 30 March. This species 
was first recorded in Laos in 1996 (Evans et al. 2000). 
That record was a range extension north of some 450 
km and the current record extends the range a further 
100 km north. 

Bright-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis 
Common on the sandbars near Savannakhet town and 
the island near Ban Savang. These are the first records 
for Central Laos. It is remarkable that David-Beaulieu 
(1949-1950) did not record the species during his years 
resident in Savannakhet town, the more so since his 
residence had a view of the sandbars and he was already 
very familiar with the species, which has a distinctive 
call, from southern Vietnam (David-Beaulieu 1939). It 
is likely that the species has colonized the area since 
that time. Although the habitat on the sandbars 
themselves is unlikely to have changed much it is quite 
possible that they were occupied by Bright-headed 
Cisticolas only once more extensive habitats became 
available following deforestation, first in north-east 
Thailand and latterly in Laos. This species occurs 
commonly in rough grass around rice paddies around 
Vientiane town (pers. obs.) and presumably also 
occupies this habitat around Savannakhet. 

There is patchy evidence of this species extending 
its range elsewhere in Asia. In Borneo it was first 
recorded near Pontianak in 1976 (Harvey and Holmes 
1976) and was recorded again at Kendawangan in 1994 
(Rusila and Enis 1995), a record which G. Davison (in 
litt. 2000) interprets as evidence that the species has 
now colonized the wide area between these two points. 
The first records from theTanimbar islands (Bishop and 
Brickie 1998) are believed to represent recent 
colonization following deforestation (David Bishop in 
litt. 2000). Following the first record on Sumatra in 1976 
(Harvey and Holmes 1976) there have been scattered 
records elsewhere and Holmes (1996) considered it 
likely that it was spreading northwards across the island. 


In Hong Kong the species was first recorded in 1991 
(Viney and Chalmers 1992) and is now considered to 
be a regular winter visitor from November to March, in 
small numbers (Leven et al. 1994). M. Turnbull (in litt. 
2000) suggests that this indicates an expansion in range 
or numbers in South China in recent years. 

Chestnut-flankedWhite-eye Zosterops erythropleurus 
At least one in a small party of white-eyes Zosterops in 
Dong Nathat on 9 February. This is the first record for 
Central Laos.The first record for Laos was in December 
1995 in the far north (Duckworth et al. 1999a), and 
this was followed by a wide scatter of records from the 
north in the winter of 1996/1997 (J. W. Duckworth in 
litt. 1999). 


Vannalack Sengsavanh, the staff of Xe Bang-Nouan National 
Biodiversity Conservation Area and the police and forestry officials 
in Ban Paksong are thanked for their assistance. Will Duckworth 
commented on a draft of this paper. The OrientalBirding email list 
server was an invaluable means of requesting information on the 
Bright-headed Cisticola; Geoffrey Davison, Michael Turnbull, Seb 
Buckton and David Bishop provided helpful information on this 
species. 


REFERENCES 

BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona 
and Cambridge: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International. 

Bishop, D. and Brickie, N. W. (1998) An annotated checklist of the 
birds of theTanimbar Islands. Kukila 10: 115-150. 

David-Beaulieu, A. (1939) Les oiseaux de la region de Pleiku (Hauts 
Plateaux de Sud-Annam). L’Oiseau R.f.O. 9: 13-32, 163-182. 

David-Beaulieu, A. (1944) Les Oiseaux du Tranninh. Hanoi: Publica¬ 
tions de l’Ecole Superieure des Sciences, Universite Indochinoise. 

David-Beaulieu, A. (1949-1950) Les oiseaux de la province de 
Savannakhet (Bas-Laos ). L’Oiseau R.f.O. 19:41-84, 153-194 and 
20: 9-50. 

Duckworth, J. W. (1996) Bird and mammal records from the 
Sangthong District, Vientiane Municipality, Laos in 1996. Nat. 
Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 44: 217-242. 

Duckworth, J. W., Davidson, P. and Timmins, R. J. (1999a) Birds. 
Pp. 69-1 59 in J. W. Duckworth, R. E. Salter and K. Khounbolme 
(compilers). Wildlife in Lao PDR: 1999 Status Report. Vientiane: 
IUCN-The World Conservation Union / Wildlife Conservation 
Society / Centre for Protected Areas and Watershed Manage¬ 
ment. 

Duckworth, J. W., Salter, R. E. and Khounbouline, K. (compilers) 
(1999b) Wildlife in Lao PDR: the 1999 Status Report. Vientiane: 
IUCN-The World Conservation Union / Wildlife Conservation 
Society / Centre for Protected Areas and Watershed Manage¬ 
ment. 

Duckworth, J.W.,Timmins, R. J. and Evans,T. D. (1998a) The con¬ 
servation status of the River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii in south¬ 
ern Laos. Biological Conservation 84: 215-222. 

Duckworth, J.W.,Timmins, R. J.,Thewlis, R. M., Robichaud,W. G. 
and Evans, T. D. (1998b) Ornithological records from Laos, 
October 1994 - August 1995. Forktail 13: 33-68. 

Evans,T. D. andTimmins, R. J. (1998) Ornithological records from 
Laos, January-September 1994. Forktail 13: 69-96. 

Evans, T. D.,Towll, H. C., Timmins, R. J., Thewlis, R. M., Stones, 
A. J., Robichaud, W. G. and Barzen, J. (2000) Ornithological 
records from the lowlands of southern Laos during December 
1995-September 1996, including areas on theThai and Cambo¬ 
dian borders. Forktail 16: 29-52. 

Harmand, F. J. (1878-1879) Les Laos et les populations sauvages de 
l’lndochine. Tour de Monde 38(965-967): 1-48,39(1006-1010): 
214-370 (1997 translation Laos and the hill tribes of Indochina. 
Bangkok: White Lotus.) 



26 


T. D. EVANS 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Harvey, W. G. and Holmes, D. A. (1976) Additions to the avifaunas 
of Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia. Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 96: 
90-92. 

Holmes, D. A. (compiler) (1996) Sumatra Bird Report. Kukila 8: 9- 
56. 

Inskipp,T. R, Lindsey, N. and Duckworth, W. (1996) An annotated 
checklist of the birds of the Oriental Region. Sandy, Bedfordshire, 
U.K.: Oriental Bird Club. 

Inskipp, T. P. and Mlikovsky, J. (in prep.) An annotated checklist and 
bibliography of the birds of Indochina. 

King, B. F., Woodcock, M. and Dickinson, E. C. (1975) A field guide 
to the birds of South-East Asia. London: Collins. 

Leven, M. R., Carey, G. J. and Picken,V. (1994) Report on the birds 
1993: systematic list. Hong Kong Bird Report 1993: 16-92. 


Rusila, Y. Nor and Enis, W. H. (1995) A preliminary survey on the 
ecological potential of the CagarAlam Muara Kendawangan. PHPA/ 
AWB-Indonesia Programme, Bogor. 

Thewlis, R. M., Duckworth, J. W , Anderson, G. Q. A., Dvorak, M., 
Evans, T. D., Nemeth, E., Timmins, R. J. and Wilkinson, R. J. 
(1996) Ornithological records from Laos during October 1992 
- August 1993. Forktail 11: 47-100. 

Thewlis, R. M., Timmins, R. J., Evans, T. D. and Duckworth, J. W. 
(1998) The conservation status of birds in Laos: a review of key 
species. Bird Conserv. Internat. 8 (Supplement): 1-159. 
Timmins, R. J. and Tizard, R. J. .(in prep.) Ornithological records 
from North Laos and the Annamite Mountains, October 1995- 
August 1996. 

Viney, C. A. and Chalmers, M. L. (1992) Bright-capped Cisticola. 
The first records for Hong Kong. Hong Kong Bird Report 1991: 
116-119. 


T. D. Evans, 1 laYeoman Lane, Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent, MEM 4BX, UK. email: tom.evans@plants.ox.ac.uk 


APPENDIX 1 

Gazetteer of sites not listed by Thewlis et al. (1998) 


Nam Thahao (mouth), 16°59'N 104°46'E, Keng 
Kahouang, 16°57'N 104°46'E, Keng Kabao,16°53'N 
104°44'E, Ban Savang, 16°48'N 104°44'E, Ban 
Thahouaxang, 16°44'N 104°45'E, Savannakhet town, 
16°34'N 104°45'E, Xe Banghiang (mouth), 16°02'N 


105°15'E, Houay Xa, 16°01'N 105°21'E, Keng Khan- 
Gneng, 16°01'N 105°25'E, Phou Soun, 16°41’N 
106°11'E, Dong Nathat Conservation Area (centre), 
16°38'N 104°50'E 


APPENDIX 2 

Status assessments of birds recorded 

Rows for unidentified members of a genus exclude records identified to species. 

Threatened status: ARL = At Risk in Laos; PARL = Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Column headings: Dong = Dong Nathat; Mek N/Sa/S = Mekong River North part/Savannakhet town/South part 
Abundances C = Common (recorded daily, sometimes repeated records); P = Present (probably not common) or 
abundance not assessed; Provisional records are marked [ ] 

In Dong Nathat the number of days with records is given separately for the cold, dry season (26 January - 2 
March, maximum four days) and the early wet season (4 May - 6 July, maximum five days). 


Species 

Xepone 

Dong 

Mek N Mek Sa Mek S 

Chinese Francolin Francolinus pintadeanus 



P 

Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus 

P 

P 0,3 


Lesser Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica 


P 0,3 

P P P 

Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus 

P 



Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus 


P 0,3 


Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus 

P 



Pale-headed Woodpecker Gecinulus grantia 

P 



Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata 

C 



Green-eared Barbet M. faiostricta 

P 

P 4,2 


Coppersmith Barbet M. haemacephala 

C 



Common Hoopoe Upupa epops 



P 

Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios 

P 



Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis 


P 1,0 


Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 



P 

Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis 


P 0,2 


Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis 


P 0,1 

P 

Blue-tailed Bee-eater M. philippinus PARL 



P 

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater M. leschenaultii 

P 



Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 


P 1,1 


Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea 

P 































Forktail 17 (2001) 


Ornithological records from Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR 


27 



Species 

Xepone 

Dong 

Mek N 

Mek Sa 

Mek S 

Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis 

P 

P 2,3 




Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis 

C 

P*2,5 




Grey-headed Parakeet Psittacula finschii 

C 





Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus 


P 0,1 




Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus 


P 0,2 


P 

P 

Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei 

P 





Asian Barred Owlet G. cuculoides 

P 

C 4,5 




Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata 

P 

P 2,1 




Great Eared Nightjar Eurostopodus macrotis 

P 





Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affmis 





P 

Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 

P 





Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 

P 

P 1,1 




Green pigeon spp. 1 Treron 

P 





White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus 


P 0,1 




Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 


P 1,0 




Snipe Gallinago 





P 

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus 



P 

P 

P 

Marsh Sandpiper T. stagnatilis 



P 



Common Greenshank T. nebularia 



P 

P 

P 

Green Sandpiper T. ochropus 



P 


P 

Wood Sandpiper T. glareola 



P 



Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 



P 

P 


Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii 



P 


P 

Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus 





P 

Great Thick-knee Esacus recurvirostris ARL 





P 

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 



P 

P 


Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 




P 


Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 



P 

P 

P 

Kentish Plover C. alexandrinus 




P 


Greater/Lesser Sand Plover C. leschenaultiUC. mongolus 




P 


River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii ARL 





P 

Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum 



P 

P 


Small Pratincole G. lactea PARL 



P 

P 

P 

River Tern Sterna aurantia ARL 





P 

White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus 




P 


Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes 


P LI 



P 

Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela 

P 

P 2,1 




Shikra Accipiter badius 

P 

C 2,4 




Little Egret Egretta garzetta 



P 


P 

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea ARL 



P 

P 

P 

Great Egret Casmerodius albus 



P 


P 

Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia 



P 


P 

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 





P 

Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus 



P 


P 

Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus 


P 




Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus 


P 0,1 




Eared Pitta Pitta phayrei 

P 





Blue-winged Pitta P. moluccensis 

P 

P 0,4 




Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 


P 0,1 



P 

Red-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha 

P 





Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 

P 


P 



Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus 

P 

P 0,2 




Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus 


P 3,0 




Spangled Drongo D. hottentottus 

P 

P 1,0 




Greater Racket-tailed Drongo D. paradiseus 

c 

P 1,4 




Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea 

c 

C 4,5 




Asian Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi 

p 

P 0,1 




Great Iora Aegithina lafresnayei 


P 3,4 




White-throated Rock Thrush Monticola gularis 

p 

P 1,0 




Blue Rock Thrush M. solitarius 





P 

































































28 


T. D. EVANS 


Forktail 17'(2001) 



Species 

Xepone 

Dong 

Mek N Mek Sa Mek S 

Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus 

P 

P 1,0 


Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica 


P 0,1 


Hainan Blue Flycatcher Cyornis hainanus 


P 2,0 2 


[Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher C. tickelliae] 

C 



Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis 

C 

C 4,0 


Bluethroat Luscinia svecica 



P 

Siberian Blue Robin L. cyane 


P 2,0 


White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus 

P 

C 4,5 


Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata 


P 3,0 


Black-collared Starling 5. nigricollis 

P 



Hill Myna Gracula religiosa 

C 



Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 

P 


P 

Wire-tailed Swallow H. smithii PARL 



P P P 

Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps 


P 3,2 


Black-crested Bulbul P. melanicterus 

P 

C 4,5 


Stripe-throated Bulbul P. finlaysoni 


P 1,2 


Yellow-vented Bulbul P. goiavier 



P 

Streak-eared Bulbul P. blanfordi 



P 

Puff-throated Bulbul Alophoixus pallidus 

c 

C 3,5 


Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 



P 

Bright-headed Cisticola C. exilis 



P P 

Plain Prinia Prinia inornata 


P 1,0 


Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus 


P 1,0 


Asian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps 

p 

P 2,0 


Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps 



P 

Thick-billed Warbler A. aedon 

p 



Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis 

p 

P 3,4 


Radde’s Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi 



P 

Yellow-browed Warbler P inornatus 

c 

C 3,0 


Greenish Warbler P trochiloides 


C 4,0 


Pale-legged Leaf Warbler P. tenellipes 

p 

C 4,0 


'Golden-spectacled Warbler’ Seicercus burkii 3 


P 1,0 


Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris 

c 



White-crested Laughingthrush Garrulax leucolophus 


C 1,2 


Laughingthrush sp(p). Garrulax 4 

p 

C 1,3 


Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti 


C 4,5 


Buff-breasted Babbler Pellorneum tickelli 

c 



Puff-throated Babbler P. ruficeps 


C 4,5 


Large Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus hypoleucos 


C 4,5 


Rltfous-capped/Rufous-fronted Babbler Stachyris ruficeps/S. rufifrons 

p 



Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularis 

c 

C 4,5 


Brown-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe poioicephala 


C 4,4 


White-bellied Yuhina Yuhina zantholeuca 

p 

P 3,3 


Thick-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile 


P 3,3 


Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker D. cruentatum 


P 1,0 


Flowerpecker spp. Dicaeum 

p 

P 4,5 


Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Anthreptes singalensis 


P 2,2 


Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja 


P 2,1 


Little Spiderhunter Arachnolhera longirostra 

p 

P 2,2 


White Wagtail Motacilla alba 



P 

Yellow Wagtail M. flava 



P P 

Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufidus 



P P 

Olive-backed Pipit A. hodgsoni 

p 


P 

Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus 



P 

Scaly-breasted Munla Lonchura punctulata 

p 


P 

1 Mostly calls thought to have been attributable to Thick-billed Green Pigeon. 

However, calls of Pin-tailed and Pompadour Green 


Pigeons were not known. 

2 An unidentified blue flycatcher was also recorded on 4 May. 

3 5. burku is now regarded as a species complex of five species (Alstrom and Olsson 1999) but the characters were not known at the 


time of these records. 

4 All laughingthrushes heard were suspected to be White-crested 





























































FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 29-40 


Birds recorded during two expeditions to 
north Myanmar (Burma) 

BEN KING, HUGH BUCK, ROBERT FERGUSON,TIMOTHY FISHER, CHRISTIAN GOBLET, 

HERBERT NICKEL and WERNER SUTER 


We participated in two birding expeditions to extreme northern Myanmar (Burma), north-west 
of Putao, on 26 January—13 February 1998 and 5—26 November 1999, the first ornithological 
exploration of the area since before World War II. The following species were new for Myanmar 
(and all except the first of these were also new for South-East Asia): Eurasian Blackbird Turdus 
merula , Rufous-tailed Thrush Turdus naumanni naumanni, Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx 
hyperythra , Goldcrest Regulus regulus, Snowy-throated Babbler Stachyris oglei and Brown-headed 
Fulvetta Alcippe ludlowi. A host of new distributional data was derived. We found forest in pristine 
condition and birds galore. 


THE ROUTE 

Two birding expeditions were made to northern 
Myanmar, in 1998 and 1999. On the 1998 expedition, 
we flew from Yangon (Rangoon) to Putao by regular 
scheduled airline. After over-nighting in Putao, we 
traveled about 16 km north-west by road to Sangaung 
village where we embarked on our trek to the north¬ 
west. From Sangaung, we climbed up a low north/south 
mountain ridge to Camp 1 (at 1,330 m just below the 
west side of the pass), and then down toWasadum village 
at about 800 m. FromWasadum, we crossed a river and 
then a low ridge into the Nan Lam River valley. We 
followed the right bank of the Nan Lam north-west and 
then the right bank of the Zia River (before their merger, 
the Nan Lam swings west and the Zia continues north¬ 
west) to Ziyardum village on the left (west) bank of the 
Zia. From Ziyardum, we traveled south-west, crossing 


two low ridges into the Nan Lam River valley, which we 
followed to Camp 2. From Camp 2 we crossed to the 
Nan Lam River’s south side, and then headed west up a 
knife-edged ridge all the way to Camp 4, which was our 
farthest point from Putao, about 52 km north-west 
(actually 300°). 

The 1999 expedition was identical up toWasadum. 
FromWasadum, we crossed to the left bank of the Nan 
Lam River and proceeded upriver to Kharlondum. From 
Kharlondum, we proceeded upriver to Camp 2A. From 
Camp 2A we proceeded farther up the river until 
meeting the ridge we climbed the previous year and 
proceeded to camps 3A, 4 and 5. Camp 5 was a day’s 
walk beyond and above Camp 4.The knife-edged ridge 
upon which Camp 5 was perched continues west until 
it meets the north/south ridge that is the Indian border 
(Arunachal Pradesh) about 3 km away. 


THE ITINERARIES 


1998 


1999 


26 January 

arrive Putao 

5 November 

arrive Putao 

27 January 

Putao to Sangaung 

6 November 

Putao to Sangaung 

28 January 

Sangaung to Camp 1 

7 November 

Sangaung to Camp 1A 

29 January 

Camp 1 toWasadum to Ziyardum 

8 November 

Camp 1A toWasadum 

30 January 

Ziyardum to Camp 2 

9 November 

Wasadum to Kharlondum 

31 January 

Camp 2 

10 November 

Kharlondum to Camp 2A 

1 February 

Camp 2 to Camp 3 

11 November 

Camp 2A to Camp 3A 

2 February 

Camp 3 to Camp 4 

12 November 

Camp 3A to Camp 4 

3/4 February 

Camp 4 

13 November 

Camp 4 to Camp 5 

5 February 

Camp 4 to Camp 2 

14/15 November 

Camp 5 

6 February 

Camp 2 to Ziyardum 

16 November 

Camp 5 to Camp 4 

7/8 February 

Ziyardum 

17 November 

Camp 4 to Camp 3A 

9 February 

Ziyardum to Wasadum 

18 November 

Camp 3A to Camp 2A 

10 February 

Wasadum 

19 November 

Camp 2A to Ziyardum 

11 February 

Wasadum to Camp 1 

20/21 November 

Ziyardum 

12 February 

Camp 1 to Sangaung 

22 November 

Ziyardum to Kharlondum 

13 February 

Sangaung to Putao 

23 November 

Kharlodum to Wasadum 



24 November 

Wasadum to Camp 1A 



25 November 

Camp 1A to Sangaung 



26 November 

Sanguang to Putao. 





























30 


B. KING et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


GEOGRAPHICAL CO-ORDINATES AND ELEVATIONS 


P utao: 27°19.588'N, 97°23.977'E, 440 m__Cam p 2A: 27°33.264N, 97°03'17.6'E, 1,075 m 

Sangaung: 27°25.494’N, 97°17.765'E, 440 m_Ca mp 2: 27°33.169N, 97°02.723'E, 1,115 m 

Cam p 1: 27°27.73 1' N, 97°13.460'E, 1,320 m _Cam p 3A: 27°32'34.8N, 97°00'08.6'E, 1,800 m 

Camp 1A: (no coordinates), 1,270 m Camp 3: (no coordinates), 2,200 m 

Was adu m: 27°29.390'N, 97°11.377'E, 800 m _ Camp 4: 27°31'16.6N, 96°57'52.0'E, 2,475 m 

Kharlond u m: 27°32'13.5N, 97°07’08.7'E, 980 m _ Cam p 5: 27°30’54.8N, 96°56'36.7'E, 3,080 m 

Ziyardum: 27°34.345N, 97°05.899'E, 1,010 m 


THE HABITAT 

Putao (formerly Fort Hertz) at 440 m, lies in the broad 
level valley of the Mali Hka River, along a tributary 
known as the Nant Hton River. The valley is heavily 
cultivated with some heavy scrub on the bluffs of the 
flood plain. 

Sangaung village, at 440 m is north-west of Putao 
along the Sangaung River, a small tributary (stream) of 
the Nant Han Tein River valley where the valley meets 
the foothills of the Himalayas. The area around the 
village is mostly cultivated. Following this stream valley 
to the north-west, the cultivation gradually gives way to 
scrub, bamboo and some secondary forest. Once the 
climb over the small range begins, at about 700 m, the 
forest is primary broadleaf evergreen to and over the 
pass at about 1,350 m. At some places along the stream 
and in areas where the tree cover is not complete, the 
undergrowth is a vast impenetrable tangle, providing 
good cover for babblers. On the western slope of this 
range near the trail, there is a fair bit of cultivation, along 
with big trees, tangled undergrowth and great birding. 
Camp 1 and Camp 1A were amidst some tangled 
growth, resulting from clearing, on this western slope. 

Wasadum village is situated at 800 m just above a 
small river that joins the Nan Lam River a few hundred 
metres to the south.The Nan Lam River (until it is joined 
upriver by the Zia River) and the Zia River have broad 
flat valleys that are cleared and heavily cultivated near 
the villages. Away from the villages, much of the forest 
has been cleared in the valleys. Where cultivation has 
been abandoned or not attempted in cleared areas, rank 
elephant grass and other grasses (including especially 
bamboo) and secondary scrub and forest provide dense 
tangles for many birds. Some areas of primary forest 
remain in the valleys, and the forest in the hills above 
the valleys is mostly primary. Once we turned west along 
the Nam Lam River after it met the Zia River or we left 
the vicinity of Ziyardum heading south-west the forest 
was almost entirely primary, often with dense bamboo 
and brushy undergrowth. The vegetation along the rivers 
was often quite tangled. The river beds themselves were 
entirely rocky shingle, extremely treacherous when wet. 

Once we started climbing toward the south-west 
from Camp 2, the track followed the top of a knife- 
edged ridge right up to and beyond Camp 5 at 3,080 m 
elevation. For perhaps 300 m at the lower end of this 
ridge some of the forest had been cleared and there was 
a dense understorey of bamboo and other growth. After 
that the forest was entirely primary, with only a few small 
sites cleared for temporary hunters’ camps. The slopes 
below the ridge line were quite steep averaging perhaps 


60°. It was mostly difficult and often impossible to leave 
the trail. Water was always quite far from camp. Broadleaf 
evergreen forest prevailed up to perhaps 2,900 m where 
spruce/fir forest began. There were large tall broadleaf 
trees right up, but after 2,400 m on some very steep 
slopes, there was only scrub vegetation. While there were 
occasional large and small flocks above 2,000 m, 
generally birding was slow with low diversity. 

THE WEATHER 

The weather on the November trip was dominated by 
nearly continuous high pressure over Tibet and it was 
mostly fine with bright sunny days. This corresponds 
with the normally fine conditions that prevail over the 
central Himalayas from late October to mid-December, 
making this season the prime one for Himalayan 
trekking. In 1999 the rains lasted longer than usual and 
ended only the day before our arrival on 5 November. 

In the central Himalayas, the snows usually fall 
between mid-December and the end of February and 
this is what we saw on our January/February 1998 
expedition. While we had some fine days, it was generally 
wetter on this trip. 

On the November trip the snow line was well above 
our 3,080 m high camp. However, on the January/ 
February trip, the snow line was at about 2,400 m, 
making it not feasible to get much higher. We had 10- 
15 cm of snow one day at 2,400 m. It was also 
considerably colder on the January/February trip. 

PERSONNEL 

1998 Expedition: This expedition was initially 
conceived by Hugh Buck, who engaged Htin Hla to 
operate it, and could not join it because of a broken 
arm. The foreign contingent was Robert F. Ferguson, 
Timothy Fisher, Herbert Nickel and Werner Suter, led 
by Ben King. The expedition was superbly operated by 
Wild-Bird Adventure Travels and Tours (W.A.T.T.), 
whose president, Dr Htin Hla, accompanied us and 
oversaw the entire operation. OtherW.A.T.T. personnel 
were General Manager U Aung Kyaw Zaw, Catering 
Manager U Nyunt Khin, and U Fleming, U A Dee Rum, 
U Zaw Hmaing, and U In Daung La. Two forestry 
department officials accompanied us: Daw Khin Ma Ma 
Thwin and U Zin Oo. Myanmar Travel and Tours was 
represented by U Htay Aung. Security was provided by 
UTin Moe and three other local policemen. Local guides 
were La Won Sin from Putao and Pe Rum from 












Forktail 17 (2001) 


A birding visit to North Myanmar (Burma) 


31 


Ziyardum. Porter arrangements from Sangaung were 
made by Sar Wan Yaw Shu. About 90 porters/helpers 
accompanied us. 

1999 Expedition: the foreign contingent was Melinda 
Berger, Dr Hugh Buck,Ted Buhl and Christian Goblet, 
led by Ben King. Again the expedition was operated by 
W.A.T.T. with Dr Htin Hla in charge. W.A.T.T. 
personnel were Nyunt Khin (Manager), Mg Mg Oo, 
Htun Htun, Than Win, Hla Htun. The Ministry of 
Travels and Tours was represented by Them Aung. La 
Won Sin was our local guide. 

RESULTS 

We found five species and one subspecies new for 
Burma, all but one of which ( Turdus merula ) were also 
new for South-East Asia: Eurasian Blackbird Turdus 
merula , Rufous-tailedThrush Turdus n. naumanni , Rusty- 
bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra , Goldcrest 
Regulus regulus , Snowy-throated Babbler Stachyris oglei 
and Brown-headed (Brown-throated) Fulvetta Alcippe 
ludlowi. All were expected, except the Snowy-throated 
Babbler, which was astonishing, as it was previously 
known below 1,800 m only from Arunachal Pradesh, 
from which North Burma is cut off by a high ridge 
(3,000+ m).We also found a number of other interesting 
and little-known species, the records of which are 
detailed below. 

The Appendix is an annotated list of all the species 
seen on the expedition. This list gives a status symbol 
assigned by Smythies (1953), which forms the basis for 
our assessment of our results. 

A sombre note is that, in spite of the remoteness of 
the area and the superb habitat, our guide told us that 
Tigers Panthera tigris have been all but eliminated. 

SEASONAL DIFFERENCES 

The differences between the two expeditions, one in 
November and the other in January/February, were 
striking. In November, the rains had just ended and the 
weather was still warm, with the snowline well above 
3,100 m, and clear weather prevailed most of the time. 
January/February was the height of winter, much colder 
with the snow line at 2,400 m, and wetter, more cloudy 
weather generally. 

Thus in November, there was actually more 
birdsong, e.g. Pygmy Wren Babblers Pnoepyga pusilla 
were heard commonly (none in January/February). We 
saw fewer of some species, e.g. tragopans, Rufous-necked 
Hornbills, in November than January/February, 
probably because they were more scattered at higher 
elevations. In November, migration was in full swing, 
with many more raptors, thrushes and other migratory 
birds seen. In November, we saw some species that had 
apparently completely left the area in January/February, 
e.g. Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus. On the other 
hand, in January/February we saw aggregations of 
species that were more concentrated in larger flocks, 
e.g. Rufous-necked Hornbill and yuhinas. 

A large concentration of Turdus thrushes at Ziyardum 
in November was due to a grove of unidentified 


domesticated trees with abundant fruit. The fruit 
attracted barbets Megalaima, bulbuls Pycnonotus , as well 
as other species. 

Other comparisons can be made by perusing the 
Appendix. 

THE SPECIAL SPECIES 

White-cheeked Partridge Arborophila atrogularis 
On 9 November 1999, Hugh Buck saw one along the 
track about 1 km south-east of Kharlondum. This is a 
little-known species with few recent observations. 

Blyth’s Tragopan Tragopan blythii, and Temminck’s 
Tragopan Tragopan temminckii 

On 2 February 1998 we found a large pile of male Blyth’s 
Tragopan feathers at a snare trap at 2,480 m.Two males 
and two females were seen on 3 February and one male 
on 4 February at about 2,500 m.The diagnostic yellow 
facial skin and the sharp cut-off between the red of the 
hindneck and the brown back were noted on the males. 
The females seen on 3 February were presumed to be 
Blyth’s because they were with male Blyth’s, but this is 
not necessarily correct.The female seen by Werner Suter 
on 4 February was thought to be Blyth’s because of its 
large size. Single maleTemminck’sTragopans were seen 
in the same area on both days. Werner Suter witnessed 
an extraordinary encounter between a male Blyth’s 
Tragopan and a male Temminck’s Tragopan. After 
watching a male Blyth’s Tragopan walk out of sight, 
another bird appeared and he was surprised when he 
noticed that it was dark red, including the head, and it 
had much finer spots on the upperparts, and blue facial 
skin. This male Temminck’s Tragopan, after a few 
seconds of scratching around, disappeared in the same 
direction as the Blyth’s had done a minute before. After 
some waiting and hoping that they would reappear,W.S. 
continued on the track for about 50 m where he saw 
the birds again, now together, about 25 m below the 
track. Suddenly there was some noise and an aggressive 
encounter. The larger Blyth’s jumped at the smaller 
Temminck’s, calling loudly kach-ach-ach-kach-ach. This 
happened twice in a half minute. Because of the bamboo, 
which partly concealed the Temminck’s, W.S. could not 
see whether it also acted aggressively, although it seemed 
rather defensive. Notwithstanding, after another half 
minute, the birds moved on together and disappeared. 

The Blyth’s Tragopan is well known to La Won Sin, 
our local guide (a seasoned hunter/trapper), and appears 
to be fairly numerous. Given the inaccessibility of much 
of the area because of steep slopes, the excellent 
condition of the forest and the paucity of people in this 
area (which extends many miles), the Blyth’s Tragopan 
is likely to be in healthy numbers and not threatened 
here in the short term. 

In November 1999, only one female tragopan was 
seen, on 16 November at 2,700 m, and could not be 
identified. On 14 November, a breast feather of a male 
Temminck’s Tragopan was found at 2,800 m. There was 
no response to tape playback (there had been in January 
1998). In November 1999, the snowline was high above 
our 3,080 m high camp, and thus the tragopans were 
scattered. However, in January 1998, the snowline was 
right at our high camp of 2,475 m. We got 10-15 cm of 



32 


B. KING et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


snow on one of our days there. The snow tended to melt 
rapidly and there were extensive bare ground patches. 
Thus the tragopans were concentrated and rather easy 
to find and see. Our guide pointed out that the tragopans 
followed the snowline down in winter. 

Sclater’s Monal Lophophorus sclateri 
Two were heard at 2,900-3,000 m on 13 November 
1999, four between 2,630-3,100 m on 14 November 
and one at about 3,000 m on 15 November. However, 
only one female was seen, at 2,630 m on 14 November 
by Christian Goblet and La Won Sin. La Won Sin was 
familiar with both Sclater’s and Himalayan Monals L. 
impejanus and said that the Himalayan Monal is found 
at higher elevations than Sclater’s in this area. 

Pale-headed Woodpecker Gecinulus grantia 
In 1998, seen on four days: two on 28 January at 1,200 
m; two on 9 February at 900 m; two on 10 February at 
850 m; one on 12 February at 700 m. In 1999, we had 
three sightings of single birds: 1,280 m on 7 November, 
1,900 m on 17 November, and 1,050 m on 20 
November. The record at 1,900 m is higher than 
Smythies (1953) maximum of 1,200 m.These sightings 
are probably on the low end as the species favoured 
bamboo habitat is common, and it is a shy, fairly quiet 
species. Further, its calls are similar to those of the 
common Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis , which 
could lead to it being overlooked. 

Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis 
In 1998, we observed 38 individuals of this species on 
eight days with a maximum of 10 on 7 February near 
Ziyardum between 1,010 and 1,080 m. There is 
considerable overlap as most sightings (22) were on our 
three days at Ziyardum 7-9 February. In 1999, we saw 
fewer, 13, perhaps because they were more scattered at 
higher elevations: six at 1,900 m on 12 November, two 
at 2,900 m on 14 November, one at 1,600 m on 18 
November, and singles at 1,000-1,200 m on 20, 21,22, 
and 24 November. The 2,900 m sighting is far higher 
than the 900 m maximum listed by Smythies (1953). 
While the locals at Ziyardum use hornbill feathers and 
bills for decoration on their head-dresses, the hornbills 
were not particularly shy around the village and appeared 
not to be unduly persecuted.There does not seem to be 
a short term threat here. 

Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus 
While we saw no Wreathed Hornbills in January/ 
February 1998, they were fairly common in November 
1999 (a total of 62), suggesting that they move out of 
the area when the weather gets colder. Most 
extraordinary were three birds seen well flying at about 
2,500 m, much higher than the 900 m Smythies (1953) 
gave and far higher than any others we have seen. All 
the other sightings were between 800 and 1,100 m. 

Blyth’s Kingfisher Alcedo Hercules 

In 1998, we had four sightings of single birds: 5 and 6 
February at 1,105 m, 9 February at 900 m, and 12 
February at 700 m. In 1999, we had four sightings of 
five birds: 7 and 25 November, single birds at 480 m, 
one bird at 1,100 m on 18 November, and two at 1,060 
m on 19 November. 


Mountain Scops-Owl Otus spilocephalus 
A single bird was heard on the night of 11/12 February 
1998 at 1,325 m. Singles were heard at 1,800 m on 11 
November and at 1,050 m on 19 November 1999. 
Smythies (1953) did not list this species for north-east 
Burma, but it has been recorded in surrounding parts 
of Burma and Arunachal Pradesh and was to be 
expected. 

Tawny Owl Strix aluco 

Two were heard at 3,080 m on 14 November and one 
each on 15 and 16 November 1999 at 3,080 m (the 
owls were c. 3,000-3,010 m). Not previously found in 
northern Burma, it has been found in nearby Arunachal 
Pradesh and the Chin Hills, and was to be expected. 

Black-tailed Crake Porzana bicolor 

Two to five were heard each day in the early morning 

and late afternoon near Kharlondum at 980 m on 9/10 

and 22/23 November 1999. The crakes were in some 

grassy patches with standing water. This is not a new 

record for northern Burma, but it is a little known 

species. 

Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii 

A flock of five was seen on 29 January, two on 31 January 
and one on 4 February 1998 on shingle banks of rivers 
between 800 and 1,135 m. A flock of three was seen on 
a shingle bank (same site as 29 January sighting) on 23 
November 1999. 

[Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus 
A single individual, probably this species, was seen at 
Kharlondum on 10 November 1999, at perhaps 400 m 
distance. It was too far away for definitive identification. 
The usual dry deciduous forest habitat of the Rufous¬ 
winged Buzzard Butastur liventer , is completely lacking 
in this area. There were a number of migrating raptors 
in the area that day. Previously known only from 
Tenasserim in Myanmar, B.K. and Mike Anderberg saw 
one at close range on Mt Victoria in the southern Chin 
State on 19 March 2000 at 1,900 m, suggesting it may 
occur more widely.] 

Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis 

On 12 November 1999, eight Aquila eagles flew over at 
about 2,100 m heading south, apparently migrating. 
Three could be identified as immature (1-3 years old) 
Steppe Eagles by their shapes and broad buffy band at 
the tips of the greater under wing-coverts, contrasting 
with the dark underwing. The other five birds had similar 
shapes and were probably the same species. There are 
no previous records from northern Burma, but it was 
to be expected as it winters to the south in the plains of 
southern Burma. 

Rufous-bellied Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii 
One immature bird was seen at 1,060 m, about 1 km 
north-west of Ziyardum on 20 November 1999. The 
buteo-like shape, the white underparts of the body 
sharply contrasting with the black on the side of the 
head, and white wing lining and pale whitish underside 
of the flight feathers were distinctive. While not 
previously seen in northern Burma, it was to be 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


A binding visit to North Myanmar (Burma) 


33 


expected, having been recorded in nearby Arunachal 
Pradesh. 

Mountain Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis 
Three single sightings 980-2,400 m on 2, 6, and 11 
February 1998. Four single sightings in the same 
altitudinal range in 1999, 10, 18, 19 and 23 November. 
Smythies (1953) noted certain records only for the Chin 
Hills in Burma. It was to be expected, as it occurs in 
nearby Arunachal Pradesh and Yunnan, China (Cheng 
1987). 

White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis 
The first sighting was of a breeding-plumaged individual 
(long plumes from rear of crown and lower foreneck) 
along a large river near the village of Ziyardum (1,000 
m elevation) on the morning of 30 January 1998. We 
watched the bird through a 20x scope at a long distance 
for about 20 minutes. The bird was preening and we 
got good views of its plain grey head and neck and white 
belly.The riverbed was entirely large shingle stones.The 
other three 1998 sightings were along the Nan Lam River 
with a large shingle stone bed at 1,135 m elevation at 
Camp 2, and could all have involved a single individual. 
Two of the sightings were about 30 minutes apart on 
the afternoon of 30 January, and the third sighting was 
in the late afternoon of 1 February. The 1999 sightings 
were: a pair flying over camp 2A and Camp 2 on 18 
November; a single flying over Camp 2A on 19 
November; and a single flying over Ziyardum on 20 
November. These are the first sightings of this species 
in Burma for many years and add to the handful of recent 
sightings in Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. 

[Blue-naped Pitta Pitta nipalensis 
Two birds, believed to be this species, were heard on 11 
February 1998 at about 900 m.The Rusty-naped Pitta 
Pitta oatesi , cannot be excluded, even though its closest 
known record is in the Myitkyina district.] 

Collared Treepie Dendrocitta frontalis 
In 1998, a total of 18 were seen on nine days between 
460 and 1,200 m, indicating that it is uncommon but 
widespread in the area. In 1999, 119 were seen on 12 
days, making it fairly common then.This is a little known 
and rarely observed species. 

Black-breasted Thrush Turdns dissimilis 
Two birds were seen feeding on fruit at 1,015 m in 
Ziyardum on 19 and 21 November 1999. Another was 
seen at 980 m near Kharlondum on 23 November. 

Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula 
Two females were seen at 1,015 m at Ziyardum on 20/ 
21 November 1999. The large size, mottled blackish 
brown plumage with yellowish bill and feet were 
distinctive. This is the first record of this species in 
Burma, but it was to be expected as it occurs in nearby 
Arunachal Pradesh and western Yunnan. 

Rufous-tailed Thrush Turdus naumanni naumanni 
One was seen at 2,900 m elevation on 15 November 
1999, two at 1,015 m in Ziyardum on 21/22 November, 
and two at 980 m near Kharlondum on 23 November. 
Some 80 Dusky Thrushes T. naumanni eunomus were 


seen during this period and direct comparison was 
sometimes possible.The Rufous-tailedThrushes differed 
conspicuously in having a largely rufous tail and rufous 
spotting on the breast and flanks. These are the first 
records for Burma and South-East Asia and were to be 
expected as it occurs in adjacent Yunnan. 

Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra 
In 1999, two males and three females were seen (9, 21, 
22, and 23 November), all singing, four of which were 
responding to a tape supplied to Hugh Buck by Des 
Allen.The males were a dark bluish above with a slight 
white eyebrow and entirely bright rusty orange below. 
The females were similar to the female of the Lesser 
Shortwing, but the underparts were entirely rich fulvous 
with a faint hint of scales on the breast. All the birds 
seen were in dense elephant grass, mixed with brushy 
vegetation and often small trees, from 980 to 1,050 m. 
Another four or five birds were heard down to 800 m 
which could have been this species. However, because 
this species’s song is nearly identical to that of the Lesser 
Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophrys, the identity of these 
birds is uncertain.The Rusty-bellied Shortwing appears 
to be fairly common in this area. These are the first 
records for this species in Burma and South-East Asia. 
However, it has been found in nearby Arunachal Pradesh 
and north-western Yunnan. 

White-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula monileger 
One was seen at 1,300 m on 5 February 1998. In 1999, 
a total of eight were seen on six days between 600 and 
1,600 m, between 8 and 25 November. Apparently, these 
are the first records for north-east Burma (Smythies 
1953), although it was to be expected, as it occurs in 
Upper Chindwin and Arunachal Pradesh. 

Rufous-breasted Bush-Robin Tarsiger hyperythrus 
One female was seen on a narrow shingle river at 1,105 
m on 30 and 31 January and 5 February 1998. 

Purple/Green Cochoa Cochoa purpurea/viridis 
An unidentified cochoa was heard on 25 November 
1999 at 900 m. 

Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa 
In 1998, a total of 20 were seen on five days between 
700 and 1,500 m. In 1999, 31 were seen on five days. 
They tend to move around in small flocks of two to six, 
the largest flock seen was nine on 9 November 1999. 
This adds north-east Burma to the handful of localities 
in Bhutan, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Laos where 
this rare and exquisite species can be found. The 
numbers suggest that they are more common in north¬ 
east Burma than in any other known area. 

Goldcrest Regulus regulus 

In 1988 three were seen by Werner Suter on 1 February 
at about 2,400 m, and two were seen by all on 5 February 
at about 2,400 m. Not listed by Smythies (1953), but 
Robson (2000) mentions it as ‘Recorded in winter 
(status uncertain), N, E Myanmar.’The record for north 
Myanmar refers to our sightings listed above. The E 
Myanmar listing refers to Stuart Baker’s record from 
the Northern Shan States (this record was dismissed by 
Smythies 1953) and to specimens in the British Museum 



34 


B. KING et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


of Natural History (Tring) bearing R. Meinertzhagen’s 
label (C. Robson in lirt.). These are two females and 
one male, all from 22 February 1922, near Lashio, 
Burma-Yunnan Border (F. Steinheimer and R. Prys- 
Jones in litt.). However, in the light of Meinertzhagen’s 
fraudulent acquisition and relabelling of many specimens 
that is now slowly unfolding (Rasmussen and Collar 
1999), Meinertzhagen’s records must be treated with 
suspicion. It is at least doubtful whether Meinertzhagen 
collected in Burma at this time (F. Steinheimer and R. 
Prys-Jones in lit:.), and it seems prudent to dismiss ‘his’ 
specimens as invalid records. Thus our sightings appear 
to be the first records for the Goldcrest in Myanmar. 
However, as the species is present in Arunachal Pradesh, 
south-east Tibet and north-west Yunnan, it was to be 
expected in northern Myanmar. 

Striated Bulbul Pycnonotus striatus 
A sighting of two birds at 2,900 m on 14 November 
and about 30 at 2,800 m on 16 November 1999 was 
higher than Smvthies’s (1953) maximum of 2,400 m. 

Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus 
Ten birds at 3,000 m on 15 November and ten at 2,800 
m on 16 November 1999 were higher than the 2,400 m 
maximum of Smythies (1953). 

Russet Bush-Warbler Bradypterus seebohmi (mandelli) 
One was heard at Ivharlondun at 980 m on 9/10 and 22 
November. Not listed in Smythies (1953) but has been 
found in the Chin Hills (Robson et al. 1998). 

Broad-billed Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni 
One was seen at 1,800 m on 1 February 1998. In 1999, 
one was seen at 1,050 m on 10 November and two on 
24 November at 1,200 m by Christian Goblet. Hugh 
Buck also saw two at about 1,200 m on 24 November 
1999. These are apparently the first records for north¬ 
east Burma (Smythies 1953), but it was to be expected, 
as it occurs in nearby Arunachal Pradesh. In Burma it 
was thus far recorded only in the Chin State. 

Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush Garrulax nuchalis 
We saw three on 28 January 1998 at 460 m near 
Sangaung and 12 nearby on 12 February. We saw and 
heard two on 6 November and four on 7 November 
1999 in the same area. 

Rufous-vented Laughingthrush Garrulax gularis 
A flock of about 12 was seen at 1,050 m on 20 November 
and a flock of about 15 at 1,040 m on 21 November 
1999. 

Spot-breasted Laughingthrush Garrulax merulinus 
In 1998, we found seven on 7 February, eight on 8 
February and two on 9 February in the dense second 
growth and forest undergrowth near Ziyardum at 1,010- 
1,080 m, and two near Wasadum on 10 February at 
800 m. In 1999, we found them in the same areas, but 
they were less vocal so we found fewer. 

White-browed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus 
schisticeps 

A total of 14 were seen in 1998 by Tim Fisher: five on 
28 January at 900 m, two on 29 January at 900 m, and 


six on 1 February 1998 at 1,200 m. Christian Goblet 
saw five at 2,600 m on 7 November 1999, an 
extraordinarily high record. While listed for surrounding 
areas by Smythies (1953) and found in Arunachal 
Pradesh, it has apparently not been found in north-east 
Myanmar before. 

Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler Xiphirhynchus 
superciliaris 

Two were seen at Kharlondum at 980 m on 10 
November 1999, one at 1,750 m on 11 November 1999, 
one at 1,800 m on 17 November 1999, one at 1,750 m 
on 18 November 1999, and one at 1,050 m on 20 
November 1999. 

Spotted Wren-Babbler Spelaeornis formosus 
One was seen by Tim Fisher at about 1,000 m on 12 
February 1998. In 1999, one each was heard at 480 m 
and 700 m on 7 November, one each at 800 m (heard) 
and 950 m (seen/heard) on 9 November, and one heard 
at 1,400 m on 11 November. The only previous records 
for this species in Burma are from the Chin State 
(Smythies 1953 and Robson et al. 1998). However, it 
was to be expected as it is found in nearby Arunachal 
Pradesh. 

Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler Sphenocichla humei 
One was seen by Christian Goblet on 9 November 1999 
at 980 m near Kharlondum. 

Buff-chested Babbler Stachyris ( rufifrons ) ambigua 
In 1998, one was seen at about 450 m near Sangaung 
on 12 February and 5 nearby on 13 February. In 1999, 
one was seen at 450 m near Sangaung on 6 November. 
In north-east Burma, this species has been found 
previously only near Myitkyina (Smythies 1953). 

Snowy-throated Babbler Stachyris oglei 
A flock of about eight were seen at 600 m on 28 January 
1998. A flock of about seven were seen near the same 
site on 25 November 1999. The habitat was old 
secondary broadleaf evergreen forest with a heavy 
bamboo undergrowth, and some large boulders 
scattered about. Previously thought to be confined to 
Arunachal Pradesh (Ripley 1982), this was the most 
startling find of the expeditions, new for both Burma 
and South-East Asia. The slaty grey breast contrasting 
sharply with the white throat is diagnostic, and the large 
round black spot on the ear-coverts and otherwise black 
and white marked sides of the head with a white eyebrow 
and a row of white spots on the upper neck are 
distinctive. The similar Spot-necked Babbler Stachyris 
striolata has a rusty breast. 

Spot-necked Babbler Stachyris striolata 
One was seen at 1,050 m on 20 November and one at 
1,080 m on 20 November. Smythies (1953) recorded 
this species only from the Bhamo area of north-eastern 
Burma, so this is a small range extension. 

Black-headed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius rufiventer 
In 1998, one was seen at 2,500 m on 3 February and 2 
at 2,100 m on 5 February. In 1999, two were seen at 
2,100 m on 12 November, and two at 1,800 m on 18 
November. 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


A birding visit to North Myanmar (Burma) 


35 


Streak-throated Barwing Actinodura waldeni 
In 1998, we saw 12 on 3 February, three on 4 February, 
and 25 on 5 February between 2,300 and 2,500 m. In 
1999, we saw a total of 56 at 1,700-2,700 m. 

Yellow-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinerea 
In 1998, a total of 190 were seen on five days between 
900 and 2,200 m. In 1999, 156 were seen on five days 
in the same altitudinal range.They travel in large flocks. 

Streak-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinereiceps 

Two were seen at 2,600 m on 16 November and five at 

2,600 m on 17 November by Christian Goblet. 

Brown-headed (Brown-throated) Fulvetta Alcippe 
ludlowi 

In 1999, we saw two on 14 November at 2,900 m with 
a flock of White-browed Fulvettas A. vinipectus , and a 
flock of 12 on 16 November at 2,900 m, loosely 
associated with a flock ofWhite-browed Fulvettas. They 
were readily identified by their entirely chocolate-brown 
head and neck, contrasting with their white throats, the 
throats conspicuously streaked with dark brown. There 
were several white streaks on the brown lower sides of 
the neck adjacent to the throat, which had the effect of 
making the white throat look like a triangular gorget. 
While not previously recorded in Myanmar, it was to be 
expected, having been found in nearby Arunachal 
Pradesh. 

Rufous-throated Fulvetta Alcippe rufogularis 
In 1998, a total of 61 were seen on six days between 
470 and 1,100 m. In 1999, 20 were seen on four days. 
This species is rather shy and secretive, suggesting it is 
far more common than our observations. While it has a 
broad range there are few places it can be seen readily 
(Vietnam and Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh are two 
of the better sites). 

Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella 

In 1998, a total of 71 were seen on 10 days between 

900 and 2,500 m. In 1999, 46 were seen on 8 days. 

WhiskeredYuhina Yuhina flavicollis 
In 1998, a total of 145 were seen on seven days between 
760 and 1,400 m. In 1999, 52 were seen on seven days. 
This species is apparently new for this part of north¬ 
east Burma, being found only in the Bhamo and 
Myitkyina districts before (Smythies 1953). 

Fire-tailed Myzornis Myzornis pyrrhoura 
In 1998, we saw a total of 13 on four days between 1,800 
and 2,500 m, a nice number for this scarce species. In 
1999, we saw five on two days. 


Rufous-headed (Lesser Rufous-headed) Parrotbill 
Paradoxornis atrosuperciliaris 

In 1998, a total of 101 were seen on seven days between 
700 and 1,400 m, a striking total for this rarely observed 
species, probably reflecting the excellent habitat with 
abundant bamboo. In 1999, we saw 27 on three days. 

Blue-spectacled (Greater Rufous-headed) 
Parrotbill Paradoxornis ruficeps 
In 1998, we saw 44 on eight days between 500 and 1,400 
m, indicating good numbers but fewer than the Rufous¬ 
headed Parrotbill. In 1999, we saw 38 on seven days. 

Chestnut Bunting Emberiza rutila 
A total of 18 were seen in the weedy second growth 
around Ziyardum from 6-9 February 1998 at 1,010- 
1,050 m. In 1999, about 100 were seen near 
Kharlondum at 980 m on 23 November, as well as one 
on 10 November and two on 22 November; in addition 
one was seen near Ziyardum at 1,050 m on 21 
November. These are apparently the first records for 
north-east Burma (Smythies 1953), but it was to be 
expected. 

We owe our greatest debt of thanks to Dr Htm Hla ofYangon, who 
organized and operated both expeditions. They were superb, first- 
class operations from beginning to end. The other authors are also 
highly grateful to Dr Hugh Buck who dreamed of the expedition and 
pursued his vision by engaging Htin Hla to organize it, only to have 
to drop out of the 1998 expedition because of a broken arm. La Won 
Sin is a superb guide who shared his intimate knowledge of the wild¬ 
life of the area with us and assisted us in getting around. Craig Robson 
gave us many useful comments on the manuscript. Lastly we wish to 
thank all the wonderful people of Myanmar who cheerfully worked 
hard to make the expedition a success. 


REFERENCES 

ChengTso-hsin (1987) A synopsis of the avifauna of China. Beijing: 
Science Press. 

King, B. F. (1997) Checklist of the birds of Eurasia. Vista, California: 
Ibis. 

Rasmussen, P. C. and Collar, N. J. (1999) Major specimen fraud in 
the Forest Owlet Heteroglaux (Athene auct.) blewitti. Ibis 141: 

11 - 21 . 

Ripley, S. D. (1982) A synopsis of the birds of India and Pakistan, 
together with those of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 
Bombay: Bombay Natural History Society. 

Robson, C. R., Buck, H., Farrow, D. S., Fisher, T. and King, B. F. 
(1998) A birdwatching visit to the Chin Hills, West Burma 
(Myanmar), with notes from nearby areas. Forktail 13: 109-120. 
Robson, C. (2000) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. Lon¬ 
don: New Holland. 

Smythies, B. E. (1953) The birds of Burma. Second edition. London: 
Oliver & Boyd. 


Ben King, Ornithology Dept. American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St., NezuYork, NY 10024 

U.S.A. 

Hugh Buck, Ceva Animal Health (MOTI) Ltd., 1 Floor Alambra Tozuer, 50 Athalassa Avenue, 2024 Stovolos, Nicosia, 
Cyprus 

Robert Ferguson, Lot 19 & 21, Blk 6, Phase 3A, Peach Drive Valley Viezu Exec. Subd., Cainta, Rizal, Philippines 
Timothy Fisher, 129 CM Recto St., BF Homes, Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines 
Christian Goblet, Rue Nation 21, 5000 Namur, Belgium 
Herbert Nickel, Karl Marx Street 38, 3709 Gottingen, Germany 

Werner Suter, Federal Institute of Forest, Snozv and Landscape Research, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Szvitzerland 



36 


B. KING et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


APPENDIX 

This appendix contains the entire list of species observed on both expeditions. The English and scientific names follow 
King (1997) and the sequence of species and synonyms are from Inskipp et al. (1996). 

The column titled ‘Smythies’ gives the status listed for north-east Burma in the appendix to Smythies (1953): R = 
resident, M = migrant, U = uncertain whether resident or migrant. The column titled ‘Observed status’ is the abundance 
as found by our expeditions, with separate notations for 1998 and 1999 if necessary. We used rare, uncommon, common, 
and abundant. These are arbitrary and actual abundance could be greater than observed. 

The column titled ‘Per Day Average’ gives the actual number of sightings or a per day average. The parenthetical 
numbers are the total individuals seen (i.e., a sighting may consist of more than one individual). Per day averages are 
calculated by dividing the total observed individuals of a species by the number of days in the birds’ habitat and expected 
altitudinal range. 1998 and 1999 are listed separately if they differed. 

The column titled ‘Observed altitudinal range’ is the range of altitudes in which we observed the species. These ranges 
could easily be greater. 

* higher than the altitudinal range heretofore known for South-East Asia 

# lower than the altitudinal range heretofore known for South-East Asia 
Parenthetical English and scientific names are editorial insertions 



Smythies 

Observed 

status 

1998/1999 

Per day 
average 
1998/1999 

Observed 
altitudinal 
range 1998/1999 

Blue-breasted Quail Coturnix chinensis 

R 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

440m 

Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola 

R 

uncommon 

2/2 day 

2,200-3,000m* 

Rufous-throated Partridge Arborophila rufogularis 

R 

uncommon 

2/2 day 

1,100-1,900m 

White-cheeked Partridge Arborophila atrogularis 

R 

rare 

0/1 sighting 

950m 

Blyth’s Tragopan Tragopan blythii 

R 

uncommon/- 

2/0 day 

2,400-2,600m 

Temminck’s Tragopan Tragopan temminckii 

R 

uncommon/- 

2/0 day 

2,400-2,500m 

Sclater’s Monal Lophophorus sclateri 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/day—2/day 

2,630-3,100m 

Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus 

R 

-/rare 

0/2(6) sightings 

1,015m 

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 

M 

-/rare 

0/1(3) sightings 

900m* 

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 

M 

-/rare 

0/1(2) sighting 

420m 

Common Merganser Mergus merganser 

M 

uncommon 

2-5/day 

760-1,135m* 

Speckled Piculet Picumnus innominatus 

R 

uncommon 

2/3 sightings 

500-700m 

White-browed Piculet Sasia ochracea 

R 

uncommon 

1/day—0.5 day 

440-1,100m 

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Picoides ( Dendrocopos ) macei 

R 

rare/- 

2/0 sightings 

450-700m 

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker Picoides ( Dendrocopos ) hyperythrus 

R 

uncommon 

2/3 sightings 

2,200-3,100m* 

Crimson-breasted Woodpecker Picoides ( Dendrocopos ) cathpharius R 

rare 

1/1 sighting 

2,300m/2,400m 

Darjeeling Woodpecker Picoides ( Dendrocopos) darjellensis 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

2,200m 

Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus 

R 

-/rare 

0/2 sightings 

850/1,015m 

Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus 

R 

uncommon/rare 

4(5)/2 sightings 

440-1,400m 

Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha 

R 

uncommon 

15/3 sightings 

800-1,200m 

Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

1,050m 

Pale-headed Woodpecker Gecinulus grantia 

R 

uncommon 

7/3 sightings 

700-1,900m 

Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis 

R 

uncommon 

3/day 

440-2,500m 

Great Barbet Megalaima virens 

R 

common 

29/day—21/day 

440#-2,800m* 

Golden-throated Barbet Megalaima franklinii 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—0.5/day 

980-2,000m 

Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—1 day 

400-1,100m 

Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis 

R 

rare/- 

2/0 sightings 

460m 

Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—1/day 

1,000-2,900m 

Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/day—4/day 

800-2,500m 

Eurasian (Common) Hoopoe Upupa epops 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

440m 

Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus 

R 

uncommon 

1/day—3/day 

500-1,500m 

Blyth’s Kingfisher Alcedo hercules 

U 

uncommon 

4/4(5) sightings 

480-1,105m 

Common Kingfisher Alcedo anhis 

R 

uncommon 

4/3 sightings 

400-1,100m 

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis 

R 

uncommon 

3(4)/l sightings 

420-500m 

Crested Kingfisher Ceryle lugubris 

R 

uncommon 

1/day 

440-1,100m 

Large Hawk-Cuckoo Hterococcyx sparverioides 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

1,100m 

Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis 

R 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

450m 

Himalayan Swiftlet Aerodramus ( Collocalia) brevirostris 

R 

common/uncommon 19/day—3/day 

440-3,100m* 

Silver-backed Needletail Hirundapus cochinchinensis 

M 

-/rare 

0/1(6) sightings 

2,000m 

Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus 

U 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

2,000m* 

Asian Palm-Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis 

R 

-/common 

0/Putao only 

420m 

Mountain Scops-Owl Otus spilocephalus 

? 

rare 

1/2 heard 

1,050-1,800m 

Collared Scops-Owl Outs ( bakkamoena ) lettia 

R 

-/rare 

0/2 heard 

980/1,015m 

Brown Wood-Owl Strix leptogrammica 

R 

rare/- 

2/0 heard 

l,350m/2,200m 

Tawny Owl Strix aluco 

} 

-/rare 

0/2 heard 

3,000-3,100m 

Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei 

R 

uncommon 

1/day—2/day 

440-3,100m* 

Asian Barred-Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—0.5 day 

440-1,135 

Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus 

R 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

1,135m 

Rock Pigeon Columba livia 

R 

rare/- 

Sangaung only 

450m 
























































Forktail 17 (2001) 


A binding visit to North Myanmar (Burma) 


37 



Smythies 

Observed 

status 

1998/1999 

Per day 
average 

1998/1999 

Observed 
altitudinal 
range 1998/1999 


Speckled Wood-Pigeon Columba hodgsonii 

R 

-/rare 

0/1(6) sighting 

2,400m 


OrientalTurtle-Dove Streptopelia orientalis 

R 

uncommon 

8/day—0.2/day 

440-1,100m 


Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 

R 

uncommon/common 

5/day—17/day 

440-1,100m 


Barred Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia unchall 

R 

- rare 

0/2(3) sightings 

1,075m 


Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 

R 

rare 

1/1 sighting 

1,100m/1,060m 


Pin-tailed (Green) Pigeon Treron apicauda 

R 

locally common 

13/day—20/day 

460-1,135m 


Wedge-tailed (Green) Pigeon Treron sphenura 

R 

uncommon 

1/day—4/day 

800-1,135m 


Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia 

R 

common 

1 l/dav 

440-2,000m 


Common Crane Grus grus 

M 

-/uncommon 

0/3(19) sightings 

440m/3,100m* 


Black-tailed Crake Porzana bicolor 

R 

-/locally common 

0/4(11) heard 

980m 


Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus 

M 

rare 

1/2 (3) sightings 

800m* 


Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 

M 

rare 

1/2 sightings 

800-950 m 


Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii 

M 

uncommon 

1/day—0.3/day 

800-1,135m 


River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelu 

R 

-/rare 

0/1(2) sighting 

430m 


Osprey Pandion haliaetus 

M 

-/rare 

0/3 sightings 

850-1,015m 


Oriental Honey-Kite (Honey-buzzard) Pernis ptilorhyncus 

U 

-/rare 

0/1(2) sightings 

500m 


Black Kite Milvus migrans 

M 

uncommon 

Putao only (6/2) 

450m 


Crested Serpent Eagle Spilomis cheela 

R 

uncommon/- 

1/day—0/dav 

760-1,135m 


Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus 

M 

uncommon 

3/3 sightings 

440m/900m 


Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus 

R 

rare 

1/2 (3) sightings 

440-980m 


Besra Accipiter virgatus 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

440m 


Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 

U 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

3,000m* 


Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis 

M 

-/rare 

0/2(3) sightings 

2,800m*/l,060m 


Common Buzzard Buteo buteo 

M 

- uncommon 

0/ldav—1/day 

850-2,900m 


Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis 

U 

uncommon 

0.5/day—0.25/day 

440-1,135m 


Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis 

- 

-/rare 

0 1(3) sighting 

2,100m 


Rufous-bellied Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii 

- 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

1,060m 


Changeable Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ( cirrhatus ) limnaeetus 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

440m 


Mountain Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis 

✓ 

rare 

3/4 sightings 

980-2,400m 


Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 

M 

rare 

1/2 (3) sightings 

420/900m 


Oriental Hobby Falco severus 

R 

rare 

2/4 sightings 

980-1,050m 


Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 

M 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

2,900m* 


Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 

R 

uncommon 

1-2/day 

760-1,135m 


White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis 

U 

rare 

3/3 sightings 

1,010-1,135m 


Black Stork Ciconia nigra 

M 

rare 

1/1 sighting 

1.050m 410m 


Blue-naped/Rusty-naped Pitta Pitta nipalensisloatesi 

R 

rare/- 

2/0 heard 

900m 


Silver-breasted Broadbill Serilophus lunatus 

R 

uncommon/- 

2(12)/0 sightings 

900m-l,200m 


Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—2/day 

460-1,100m 


Asian Fairy-Bluebird Irena puella 

R 

- rare 

0/1 sighting 

1,100m 


Orange-bellied Leafbird Chloropsis hardwickii 

R 

uncommon 

1/day 

450-1,800m 


Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 

M 

- rare 

0/2 sightings 

440m/600m 


Burmese Shrike Lanius collurioides 

R 

rare 

1(2)/1 sighting 

l,100m/l,015m 


Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—1/day 

440-1,100m 


Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus 

M 

uncommon 

2/day 

440-1,100m 


Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius 

R 

-/rare 

0/2(3) sightings 

2,400-2,700m* 


Gold-billed (Yellow-billed Blue ) Magpie LJrocissa flavirostris 

R 

-/common 

0/day—6/day 

2,500-3,100m* 


(Common) Green Magpie Cissa chinensis 

R 

uncommon 

1/day 

460-2,000m 


GreyTreepie Dendrocitta formosae 

R 

uncommon 

3/day 

760-1,135m 


Collared Treepie Dendrocitta frontalis 

R 

uncommoa/common 

1.3/day—9/day 

460-1,200m 


Spotted Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes 

R 

- uncommon 

0/day—1/day 

2,600-3,100m 


Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 

R 

uncommon 

1/day—0.2/day 

440-1,100m 


AshyWoodswallow Artamus fuscus 

R 

— uncommon 

0/2(55) sightings 

440m/ 1,000m 


Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii ■ 

R 

uncommon 

1/day—0.6 day 

700-2,400m* 


Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

1,000m 


Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos 

U 

uncommon/rare 

4(12)/l sightings 

600-1,200m 


Grey-chinned Mini\ t et Pericrocotus Solaris 

R 

common/uncommon 

10/day—2/day 

600-1,800m 


Long-tailed Minuet Pericrocotus ethologus 

U 

-/'uncommon 

0/day—4/day 

2,400-3,100m 


Short-billed Minuet Pericrocotus brevirostris 

R 

uncommon, rare 

1(40)/1(3) sighting 

1,100m/1,200m 


Scarlet Minuet Pericrocotus flammeus 

R 

uncommon 

2(8)/l(3) sightings 

440-600m 


Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—6/'day 

760-1,300m 


Yellow-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hypoxantha 

R 

common 

24 day—6/day 

460-3,000m 


White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—2/day 

460#-2,000m 


Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus 

R 

rare 

1/1 sighting 

900m 


Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus 

R 

rare/uncommon 

0.2/day—0.25 dav 

500ml,600m 


Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus 

R 

common 

14/day—6/day 

460-1,500m 


Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer 

R 

uncommon 

1.5/day—0.7/day 

480-1,500m 


Hair-crested (Spangled) Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

800m 










































































38 


B. KING et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 



Smythies 

Observed 

status 

1998/1999 

Per day 
average. 

1998/1999 

Observed 

altitudinal 

range 1998/1999 

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus 

R 

uncommon 

6(10)/2(3) sightings 

760-1,100m 

Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii 

R 

uncommon 

1/day—3/day 

450-1,135m 

Chestnut-bellied Rockthrush Monticola rufiventris 

R 

rare 

2/2 sightings 

900m#/l,050m 

Blue Rockthrush Monticola solitarius 

M 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

440m 

Blue Whistlingthrush Myophonus caeruleus 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—4/day 

440-1,800m 

Long-tailed Thrush Zoothera dixoni 

U 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

1,200m 

Black-breasted Thrush Turdus dissimilis 

R 

-/rare 

0/3(4) sightings 

980-1,015m 

Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul 

U 

-/uncommon 

0/4(6) sightings 

980#-l,075m 

Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula 

- 

-/rare 

0/2 sightings 

1,015m 

Chestnut Thrush Turdus rubrocanus 

M 

-/uncommon 

0/3 (10) sightings 

1,015m/2,900m* 

Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus 

M 

-/common 

0/day—6/day 

980-3,100m* 

Black-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis atrogularis 

M 

-/rare 

0/3 sightings 

1,015m 

Red-throatedThrush Turdus ruficollis ruficollis 

M 

rare/- 

2/0 sightings 

1,010 m 

Dusky Thrush Turdus naumanni eunomus 

M 

-/common 

0/day—16/day 

980-1,050m 

Rufous-tailed Thrush Turdus naumanni naumanni 

- 

-/uncommon 

0/4(7) sightings 

980-2,900m 

Rusta'-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/5(6) sightings 

980-1,050m 

White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx montana 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

980m 

Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata 

R 

uncommon 

1/day 

700#-l,600m 

Red-throated Flycatcher Ficedula parva 

M 

uncommon/- 

1/day—0/day 

450-600m 

White-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula monileger 

- 

rare/uncommon 

1/6(8) sightings 

600-1,600m 

Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

700m 

Slaty-blue Flycatcher Ficedula tricolor 

R 

rare/uncommon 

3/5(6) sightings 

450#-l,500m 

Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina 

U 

rare/- 

2/0 sightings 

1,050/1,100m 

Large Niltava Niltava grandis 

R 

uncommon 

4(5)/3(7) sightings 

980m/l,200m 

Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae 

R 

uncommon 

0.2/day—2/day 

600-1,200m 

Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara 

R 

uncommon/- 

3/0 sightings 

450-900m 

Pygmy Blue Flycatcher Muscicapella hodgsoni 

U 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

650m 

Grey-headed (Canary) Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis 

R 

common/uncommon 

6/day—4/day 

460-1,500m 

Orange-flanked Bush-Robin Tarsiger cyanurus 

U 

uncommon 

1/day 

900-3,100m 

Golden Bush-Robin Tarsiger chrysaeus 

R 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

1,050m# 

White-browed Bush-Robin Tarsiger indicus 

U 

uncommon/- 

3/0 sightings 

2,000#-2,500m 

Rufous-breasted Bush-Robin Tarsiger hyperythrus 

M 

rare/- 

3(l)/0 sightings 

1,105 m 

Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—0.5 day 

440-500m 

White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

1,050m 

Hodgson’s Redstart Phoenicurus hodgsoni 

M 

uncommon 

1/day—1,5/day 

440-1,100m 

Daurlan Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus 

M 

uncommon 

0.5/day 

1,000-1,100m 

Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis 

R 

rare 

1/2 sightings 

800-1,050m 

White-capped (Water) Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus 

R 

uncommon 

3/day 

440-1,135m 

Plumbeous (Water) Redstart Rhyacornis fuliginosus 

R 

common 

14/day-11/day 

440-1,135m 

White-tailed Robin Cinclidium leucurum 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 heard 

1,050m 

Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri 

U 

uncommon 

2/day—0.6/day 

450#-l,135m 

Black-backed Forktail Enicurus immaculatus 

R 

rare/- 

2(3)/0 sightings 

450-1,135m* 

Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus 

R 

uncommon 

7/day 

450-1,135m 

White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaultii 

R 

uncommon/- 

1/day—0/day 

450-900m 

Spotted Forktail Enicurus maculatus 

R 

uncommon 

2/day 

1,100 m 

Green/Purple Cochoa Cochoa viridis!purpurea 

-/R 

-/rare 

0/1 heard 

900m 

Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—2/day 

450m/440-l,050m 

Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata 

R 

-/rare 

0/1(2) sighting 

980m 

Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferrea 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—1.5/day 

440-1,100m 

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis 

R 

uncommon 

1 (6)/2( 10) sightings 

440m 

White-vented Myna Acridotheres cinereus grandis 

R 

uncommon/- 

1 (5)/0 sighting 

440m 

Collared Myna Acridotheres albocinctus 

R 

uncommon 

7/day—1 day 

440m 

Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea 

R 

uncommon 

0.5/day 

460-1,050m 

White-tailed Nuthatch Sitta himalayensis 

R 

uncommon 

5/day—0.5/day 

980#-2,500m 

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis 

R 

rare 

2(3)/2(4) sightings 

460/800m 

Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa 

R 

uncommon 

1.5/day—2.5/day 

700-1,500m 

Rusty-flanked Treecreeper Certhia nipalensis 

R 

rare 

2/2 sightings 

2,500-2,900m 

Northern (Winter) Wren Troglodytes troglodytes 

R 

-/rare 

1 sighting 

2,800m* 

Rufous-vented Tit Parus rubidiventris 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/day—4.5/day 

2,800-3,100m 

Coal Tit Parus ater 

R 

-/common 

0/day—9/day 

2,800-3,100m 

Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus 

R 

common/uncommon 

11/day—1.5/day 

440-2,500m 

Yellow-cheeked Tit Parus spilonotus 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—1.5/day 

1,000-2,500m 

Yellow-browed Tit Sylviparus modestus 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—0.5/day 

1,100-2,500m 

Sultan Tit Melanochlora sultanea 

R 

uncommon 

2/day— 1 /day 

460-1,300m 

Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus 

R 

uncommon/- 

3/day—0/day 

900-1,100m 

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 

M 

uncommon 

12/3 sightings 

440m/900m 

Red-rumped/Striated Swallow Hirundo dauricalstriolata 

M/R 

-/uncommon 

0/1(6) sighting 

420m 








































































Forktail 17 (2001) 


A birding visit to North Myanmar (Burma) 


39 



Smythies 

Observed 

status 

1998/1999 

Per day 
average 
1998/1999 

Observed 

altitudinal 

range 1998/1999 

Asian House-Martin Delichon dasypus 

M 

uncommon 

l(10)/2(24) sightings 700-3,100m* 

Goldcrest Regulus regulus 

- 

rare/- 

2(5)/0 sightings 

2,400m 

Striated Bulbul Pycnonotus striatus 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/day—3/day 

1,000-2,900m 

Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus 

R 

abundant 

40/day—76/day 

440-1,200m 

Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer 

R 

common 

17/day—13/day 

440-1,200m 

Flavescent Bulbul Pycnonotus flavescens 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

1,050m 

White-throated Bulbul Criniger ( Alophoixus ) flaveolus 

R 

uncommon 

8/day—4/day 

460-1,200m 

Olive Bulbul Hypsipetes ( Iole ) viridescens 

R 

rare/- 

l(8)/0 sighting 

900m 

Ashy Bulbul Hypsipetes ( Hemixos ) flavala 

R 

uncommon 

4/day—1/day 

450-1,100m 

Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii 

R 

uncommon/rare 

3(13)/l sightings 

900-2,400m 

Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus 

R 

abundant/uncommon 80/day—5 day 

440-3,000m 

Hill Prinla Prinia atrogularis 

R 

uncommon 

1/day 

760#-l,050m 

Chestnut-headed Tesia Tesia castaneocoronata 

R 

uncommon/common 2/day—7/day 

800-1,400m 

Slaty-belliedTesia Tesia olivea 

R 

uncommon 

1/day—3/day 

600-1,300m 

Grey-bellied Tesia Tesia cyaniventer 

R 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

900m 

Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler Cettia fortipes 

R 

uncommon 

1/day 

460-1,050m 

Grey-sided Bush-Warbler Cettia brunnifrons 

R 

rare 

3/2 sightings 

460#-l,010m* 

Russet Bush-Warbler Bradypterus seebohmi ( mandelli ) 

- 

-/rare 

0/3(1) heard 

980m 

Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus 

R 

uncommon 

1/day—2/day 

450#-l,600m 

Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius 

R 

uncommon 

4/day—2.5/day 

450m 

Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis 

R 

rare 

0/1 sighting 

1,100m 

Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus 

M 

rare 

2/1 sightings 

50m/l,050m 

Tickell’s Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus ajfinis 

M 

uncommon 

2(3)/3(9) sightings 

440-1,000m 

Buff-barred Warbler Phylloscopus pulcher 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/day—2/day 

l,050#-3,100m 

Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis 

U 

uncommon 

0.5/day—2/day 

900-2,700m 

Lemon-rumped Warbler Phylloscopus chloronotus 

U 

uncommon 

0.5/day—2/day 

460-2,500m* 

Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus 

M 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

900m 

Blyth’s Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/day—1/day 

440-2,700m 

Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator 

R 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

1,135m 

Golden-spectacled Warbler Seicercus burkii (sensu lato) 

R 

rare 

1/1 sighting 

450m/l,600m 

Grey-hooded Warbler Seicercus xanthoschistos 

R 

rare/- 

2(4)/0 sightings 

l,100m/l,200m 

White-spectacled Warbler Seicercus affinis 

R 

uncommon 

5/day—0.5/day 

450-1,400m 

Grey-cheeked Warbler Seicercus poliogenys 

R 

rare/uncommon 

2/9(19) sightings 

700#-1,300m 

Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps 

R 

uncommon 

4/day—2/day 

450#-2,400m 

Broad-billed Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni 

? 

rare 

1/2(3) sightings 

1,050-1,800m 

Rufous-faced Warbler Abroscopus albogularis 

R 

abundant/common 

43/day—9/day 

450#-l,400m 

Black-faced Warbler Abroscopus schisticeps 

R 

rare 

1 (6)/1 (2) sightings 

2,000m/l,800m 

Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris 

R 

common 

7/day—11/day 

450-1,400m 

Striated Grassbird Megalurus palustris 

R 

common/uncommon 10/day—1/day 

440m 

White-crested Laughingthrush Garrulax leucolophus 

R 

common 

18/day 

450-1,700m 

Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax monileger 

R 

common/uncommon 13/day—2/day 

1,050-1,100m 

Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax pectoralis 

R 

uncommon 

5/day—0.3/day 

470-1,100m 

Striated Laughingthrush Garrulax striatus 

R 

uncommon/common 4/day—10/day 

800#-2,500m* 

Rufous-necked Laughingthrush Garrulax ruficollis 

R 

uncommon 

4/day—5/day 

440-1,050m 

Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush Garrulax nuchalis 

R 

uncommon 

2(15)/2(6) sightings 

460m 

Rufous-vented Laughingthrush Garrulax gularis 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/2(27) sighting 

1,040-1,050m 

Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush Garrulax rufogularis 

R 

rare 

1/1(2) sighting 

l,200m/980m 

Spot-breasted Laughingthrush Garrulax merulinus 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—1/day 

800-1,080m 

Blue-winged Laughingthrush Garrulax squamatus 

R 

rare/uncommon 

1(1 )/3(8) sighting 

900#-l,800m 

Blacic-faced Laughingthrush Garrulax affinis 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/2.5/day 

2,600-3,100m 

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax erythrocephalus 

R 

rare/uncommon 

1/2(6) sightings 

1,800-2,300m 

Red-faced Liocichla Liocichla phoenicea 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/1.5/day 

800#-l,050m 

Buff-breasted Babbler Pellorneum ( Trichastoma ) tickelli 

R 

-/rare 

0/2(3) sighting 

980-1,050m 

Spot-throated Babbler Pellorneum albiventre 

R 

-/rare 

0/1(3) sighting 

1,050m 

Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps 

R 

rare/uncommon 

l(2)/3(4) sightings 

460-850m 

White-browed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps 

- 

uncommon 

1/day—1(5) sightings 900-1,300m/2,600m 

Red-billed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus ochraceiceps 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—2(3) sightings 800-1,200m 

Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus ferruginosus 

R 

uncommon 

4/day 

800#-l,800m 

Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler Xiphirhynchus superciliaris 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/5(7) sightings 

980-1,800m 

Streaked Wren-Babbler Napothera brevicaudata 

R 

rare 

1 (2)/l (4) sightings 

600m 

Scaly-breasted Wren-Babbler Pnoepyga albiventer 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 heard 

1,200m# 

Pygmy Wren-Babbler Pnoepyga pusilla 

R 

-/common 

0/day—6/day 

600-1,500m 

Spotted Wren-Babbler Spelaeornis formosus 

- 

rare/uncommon 

1/4(6) sightings 

480#-l,400m 

Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler Sphenocichla humei 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

980m 

Buff-chested Babbler Stachyris (yufifrons) ambigua 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—1 sighting 

450m 

Golden Babbler Stachyris chrysaea 

R 

common 

34/day—22/day 

450#-l,600m 

Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—4/day 

450-1,200m 


















































































40 


B. KING et al. 


Forktail 17 (2001) 



Smythies 

Observed 

status 

1998/1999 

Per day 
average 

1998/1999 

Observed 

altitudinal 

range 1998/1999 

Snowy-throated Babbler Stachyris oglei 

- 

rare 

1 (8)/l (7) sighting 

600m 

Spot-necked Babbler Stachyris striolata 

R 

-/rare 

0/2 sightings 

1,050-1,080m 

Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris 

R 

common 

22/day—30/day 

450#-l,200m 

Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/2(30) sightings 

800#-l,050m 

Cutia Curia nipalensis 

R 

uncommon 

1 (4)/5(31) sightings 

850#-l,800 m 

Black-headed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius rufiventer 

R 

uncommon 

2(3)/2(4) sightings 

1,800-2,500m 

White-browed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—1/day 

700#-l,800m 

Green Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius xanthochlorus 

R 

-/uncommon 

0/3(6) sightings 

l,700#-2,600m 

Black-eared Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius melanotis 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—0.5 day 

700#-2,500m 

White-hooded Babbler Gampsorhynchus rufulus 

R 

uncommon 

4/day 

800-1,800m* 

Rusty-fronted Barwing Actinodura egertoni 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—6/day 

700-2,400m 

Streak-throated Barwing Actinodura waldeni 

R 

common 

10/day—11/day 

1,700-2,700m 

Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera 

R 

uncommon 

2(8)/3(25) sightings 

460#-l,100m 

Chestnut-tailed Minla Minla strigula 

R 

uncommon 

1(15)/2(23) sightings 

1,600-2,300m 

Red-t.ailed Minla Minla ignotincta 

R 

uncommon 

2/day 

470#-l,800m 

Yellow-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinerea 

R 

common 

15/day—11/day 

900-2,200m 

Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaneceps 

R 

common 

20/day—13/day 

760#-2,400m 

White-browed Fulvetta Alcippe vinipectus 

R 

-/common 

0/day—15/day 

2,500-3,100m 

Streak-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinereiceps 

R 

-/rare 

0/2(7) sightings 

2,600m 

Brown-headed (Brown-throated) Fulvetta Alcippe ludlowi 

- 

-/uncommon 

0/day—3.5/day 

2,900m 

Rufous-throated Fulvetta Alcippe rufogularis 

R 

uncommon 

5/day—2/day 

470-1,100m 

Nepal Fulvetta Alcippe nipalensis 

R 

abundant 

61/day—6 3/day 

440#-l,500m 

Rufous-backed Sibla Heterophasia annectans 

R 

common 

17/day—6/day 

700-1,800m 

Black-headed Sibia Heterophasia ( melanoleuca ) desgodinsi 

R 

rare/- 

l(5)/0 sighting 

2,000m 

Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella 

R 

uncommon 

5/day—4/day 

900-2,500m 

Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides 

R 

common/uncommon 

18/day—2/day 

460#-l,100m 

StriatedYuhina Yuhina castaniceps 

R 

common 

2 3/day—21/day 

460-1,100m 

White-napedYuhina Yuhina bakeri 

R 

common 

8/day 

800#-l,400m* 

WhiskeredYuhina Yuhina flavicollis 

R 

common/uncommon 

12/day—4/day 

760-1,400m 

Stripe-throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis 

R 

abundant/common 

56/day—13/day 

2,000-3,100m 

Rufous-ventedYuhina Yuhina occipitalis 

R 

common/uncommon 

36/day—1/day 

800#-2,500m* 

Black-chinned Yuhina Yuhina nigrimenta 

R 

common 

20/day—13/day 

600-2,000m 

White-bellied Yuhina Yuhina zantholeuca 

R 

uncommon 

6/day—4/day 

460-1,400m 

Fire-tailed Myzornis Myzornis pyrrhoura 

R 

uncommon 

3/day—1/day 

1,800-2,500m 

Grey-headed Parrotbill Paradoxornis gularis 

R 

-/rare 

0/1(2) sighting 

1,050m 

Black-throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis nipalensis 

R 

common 

12/day—7/day 

980-1,300m 

(Lesser) Rufous-headed Parrotbill Paradoxornis atrosuperciliaris 

R 

common/uncommon 

8/day—2/day 

700-1,400m 

Blue-spectacled (Greater Rufous-headed) 

Parrotbill Paradoxornis ruficeps 

R 

uncommon 

4/day—2.5/day 

500-1,400m 

Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor 

R 

rare 

1/2 sightings 

460-1,050m 

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus 

R 

uncommon/- 

1/day—0/day 

800-1,500m 

Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis 

R 

uncommon 

2/day—0.5/day 

1,600-2,500m 

Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata 

R 

common/uncommon 

8/day—3/day 

460-1,600m 

Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja 

R 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

440m 

Fire-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga ignicauda 

R 

rare/- 

l(3)/0 sighting 

700m 

Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra 

R 

rare/- 

2(3)/0 sightings 

470m/900m 

Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna 

R 

common 

12/day—5/day 

460-1,400m 

Eurasian Tree-Sparrow Passer montanus 

R 

uncommon 

4/day—1/day 

440-1,010m 

White Wagtail Motacilla alba 

M 

uncommon 

2/day 

440-1,135m 

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 

M 

uncommon 

3(6)/2(3) sightings 

440-1,100m 

Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi 

M 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

440m 

Olive Tree (Olive-backed) Pipit Anthus hodgsoni 

R 

common 

12/day—6/day 

440-1,100m 

Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus 

M 

uncommon/- 

7/0 day 

440m 

White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata 

R 

common 

9/day 

440-1,050m 

Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata 

R 

uncommon 

7/day—5/day 

440-1,200m 

Black-headed Greenfinch Carduelis ambigua 

R 

rare/- 

1 (8)/0 sighting 

1,010m 

Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 

M 

abundant/uncommon 

90/day—9/day 

850-1,100m 

Dark-rumped Rosefinch Carpodacus edwardsii 

U 

-/rare 

0/2(4) sightings 

2,900m 

Scarlet Finch Haematospiza sipahi 

U 

rare/- 

1/0 sighting 

1,160m 

Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra 

U 

-/rare 

0/1(8) sightings 

2,900m* 

Brown Bullfinch Pyrrhula nipalensis 

U 

-/rare 

0/1 sighting 

1,050m# 

Grey-headed Bullfinch Pyrrhula erythaca 

U 

uncommon/- 

2(18)/0 sightings 

2,500m 

Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla 

M 

common 

34/day—16/day 

460-1,100m 

Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans 

M 

rare/- 

l(30)/0 sighting 

1,010m# 

Chestnut Bunting Emberiza rutila 

- 

uncommon/common 

3/day—13/day 

980-1,050m 









































































FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 41-44 


Provenance and affinities of the Cambodian 
Laughingthrush Garrulax ferrarius 

PHILIP ROUND and CRAIG ROBSON 


This paper justifies the recent exclusion of Cambodian Laughingthrush Garrulax ferrarius from 
the Thai bird faunal list. It also presents taxonomic information which supports the treatment of 
G. ferrarius as a full species and examines its likely distribution limits. A few G. ferrarius may 
occur, or may formerly have occurred, in SEThailand, close to the Cambodian border. However, 
due to the very small area of suitable montane and submontane habitat, if present the population 
of G. ferrarius will be extremely small. 


INTRODUCTION 

The taxon Garrulax ferrarius was described by Riley from 
two male specimens, collected by Hugh M. Smith at 
Kao Kuap, said to be near Krat, in south-east Siam on 
27 December 1929 (Riley 1930). On the strength of 
this record, Garrulax [ strepitans ] ferrarius was listed for 
Thailand by Deignan (1963). However, the coordinates 
for the type locality given by Deignan ( op. cit.) place it 


as being firmly in Cambodia. Because most of the high 
elevation terrain within a 10 km radius of the type locality 
lies on the Cambodian side of the border, Garrulax 
ferrarius was therefore not shown as occurring in 
Thailand in Boonsong Lekagul and Round (1991), nor 
was it listed forThailand by Robson (2000), on the same 
basis. This paper seeks to justify that decision, provide 
the taxonomic notes supporting the treatment of G. 
ferrarius as a full species, and examine in more detail its 



Fig. 1 The Thai-Cambodia border at the type-locality of Garrulax ferrarius 











42 


P. ROUND & C. ROBSON 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


likely distributional limits. TheThai-Cambodian border 
has been more or less off limits to biological exploration 
for the past three decades due to armed conflict. Even 
though the conflict has now ceased, most areas still 
remain unsafe to enter because of the continued 
presence of land-mines. 

Following its discovery, G. ferrarius was treated as 
conspecific with White-necked Laughingthrush G. 
strepitans by Deignan (1963, 1964) until Robson (2000) 
re-elevated it to species status, along with other members 
of the Garrulax strepitans superspecies (Grey 
Laughingthrush Garrulax maesi from S and SW China 
and Tonkin; Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrush Garrulax 
castanotis from the northern and central Annamite 
mountains, and Hainan; Black-hooded Laughingthrush 
Garrulax milleti from the southern Annamites, and 
White-necked Laughingthrush G. strepitans from SW 
China, E Myanmar, N and W Thailand, and extreme 
NW Laos). 


PROVENANCE: 

THE GEOGRAPHICAL FINDINGS 

Riley (1938) stated that Kao Kuap belonged to ‘a group 
of mountains the main chain of which extends eastward 
into Cambodia’. Under locality listings, Riley says ‘Kao 
Kuap is a mountain near Cambodia, east of Rrat’. For 
Krat he says ‘Town on the Krat River’. He also gives an 
alternative spelling (Trad). The latter is well known as 
the town of Trat, from which the south-easternmost 
province ofThailand takes its name. Using conventional 
spelling for Thai names, Kao Kuap would now be spelt 
Khao (to signify the aspirated soft English k), meaning 
mountain; and Kuap, beginning with a hard unaspirated 
sound, rendered as g in English, which is a word not 
listed in Haas (1964) and for which the meaning is 
therefore obscure. 

There has hitherto been some uncertainty over the 
precise location of Khao Kuap. The latitude and 
longitude given for Khao Kuap by Deignan (1963) was 
12°25'N 102°50'E. Modern maps (RTSD 1971) place 
these coordinates about 4.5 km inside Cambodia. The 
name Khao Kuap cannot be found on modern maps, 
but a hill marked with the Cambodian name Phnum 
Spong (580 m elevation) lies at 12°24.5'N 102°50'E, 
about 0.5 km south of the latitude and longitude given, 
and might have seemed to be the closest match. Phnum 
is more conventionally spelt Phnom in transcriptions of 
the Khmer and we have used the latter spelling 
henceforth. Phnom Spong lies about 5 km ENE of the 
highest mountain in the immediate region (1,271 m), 
and is partly divided from it by the valley of the Stoeng 
Krankung. According to the itinerary given in Riley 
(1938), Smith also collected at both Khao Banthat (Kao 
Bantad) and Khao Saming (Kao Seming) on the same 
expedition, during 20 December 1929 to 1 January 
1930.This makes it clear, therefore, that Khao Banthat 
was not an alternative name for Khao Kuap, though 
since the name Khao Banthat is often applied to the 
entire scarp where it delineates the Thai-Cambodian 
border, it is possible that Khao Kuap could be one of 
the subsidiary peaks of the Banthat range. 

Khao Banthat was described as for Khao Kuap, 
‘mountain near Cambodia; east of Krat’, and Khao 


Saming as ‘low mountain in coastal plain near Krat’ 
(Riley 1938). Khao Saming is easily located, since 
present day Khao Saming District borders the edge of a 
large mangrove inlet about 17 km NW of Trat town. 

Smith evidently passed Khao Banthat in order to 
reach Khao Kuap, since he collected specimens of Blue 
Pitta Pitta cyanea on Khao Banthat on two dates, 20 
December and 29 December, straddling the 27 
December collection date for the Garrulax ferrarius 
specimens (Riley 1938). 

Consultation of an older map (RTSD, 1934) wherein 
Khao Kuap is clearly labelled (in Thai script), at 
12°23.5'N 102°48.0'E, has now resolved the uncertainty 
(Fig. 1). These coordinates tally almost exactly with 
those on RTSD (1971), wherein the mountain is labelled 
by the elevation 1,271 m (RTSD 1934 gives 1,263 m 
for the same peak) and the coordinates may be read as 
12°23.5'N 102°47.5'E. 

The summit of Khao Kuap lies inside Cambodia, 
the actual border being indicated ca. 1 km to the 
northwest, at the extreme NW edge of the summit ridge 
of Khao Kuap, at roughly 1,100 m. This, the highest 
point on theThai-Cambodian border, which runs north¬ 
east to south-west at this point, bears the Khmer name 
Phnom Thom (Phnum Thom) on RTSD (1971). The 
summit ridge of Khao Kuap thus angles south-east, away 
from the border, past the summit itself, before bending 
to the south, and is contiguous with an extensive area 
(>100 km 2 ) of plateau country in Cambodia at 400- 
800 m elevation, and which rises to a maximum elevation 
of 1,167 m. 

On the same (1934) map there are also two peaks, 
roughly 6 km apart, labelled Khao Banthat: at 12°19.5'N 
102°44'E; and at 12°16'N 102°44'E. These lie to the 
south of Khao Kuap, on that section of the border which 
runs north-south, and are 656 m and 568 m respectively, 
according to RTSD (1934); or roughly 600 m (precise 
elevation not marked) and 611 m in RTSD (1971).The 
name Khao Banthat is applied less precisely to the whole 
length of scarp on the more recent map. 

Although, at the time Smith collected, the Thai- 
Cambodian border was more or less in the same place 
as shown by present maps, having apparently been 
settled by treaty with the French in 1907 (Winichakul 
1994) it is likely, indeed probable, that seventy years 
ago villagers on both sides of the border paid scant 
attention to its precise position. In addition,Thai claims 
over the extreme western Cambodian provinces have 
never been entirely relinquished (Thailand again 
annexed parts of western Cambodia with the tacit 
approval of the Japanese during WW2). Such uncertainty 
could account for Khao Kuap and Khao Banthat being 
said to be in Siam, rather than identified as lying on the 
actual border, or a little inside Cambodia. 


LIKELY RANGE AND HABITAT 

Smith apparently left no clue as to the elevation at which 
he collected in the Trat/Cambodian border area. All 
other members of the Garrulax strepitans superspecies 
essentially inhabit moist montane, and upper sub¬ 
montane, forest, and it is reasonable to assume that G. 
ferrarius has similar ecological needs. While none of these 
species, so far as is known, occurs any significant distance 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


Provenance and affinities of the Cambodian Laughingthrush 


43 


away from major mountain ranges, it is likely that, along 
with other montane species, their precise lower 
distributional limits vary locally, depending on 
topography and vegetation cover, perhaps being 
constrained only by the lower limit to which more or 
less unbroken moist evergreen forest extends. Even in 
highly seasonal N and W Thailand, where most plains 
and foothills forest was formerly deciduous or, at most, 
semi-evergreen, G. strepitans occurs down to only 500 
m or so (Boonsong Lekagul and Round 1991). G. 
castanotis occurs down to 600 m in Laos (Duckworth et 
al. 1999) and even lower, to 400 m, on the more humid, 
and much less seasonal Vietnamese flank of the 
Annamites (Kalyakin and Korzun 1998). 

Trat Province is one of the wettest and least seasonal 
parts of Thailand. The average annual rainfall for the 
period 1956-1985, measured at the Khlong Yai 
Meteorological Station, Trat, was 4,671 mm, with an 
average of 192.1 rainy days per year (Meteorological 
Department 1987). Due to this, the original vegetation 
over most of the area would once have been evergreen 
rainforest, so it is even conceivable that G.ferrarius may 
have occurred down to the level of the foothills, at c. 
200 m (most of the coastal plain would already have 
been converted to scrub and agricultural land, even 
during Smith’s time). However, further evidence for a 
probably montane origin for Smith’s G. ferrarius 
specimens comes from observations in the western 
Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia during spring 
2000, where G.ferrarius was only found at elevations of 
above 800 m (F. Steinheimer in litt.). 

To summarize: the steep land along the western 
boundary of Khao Banthat ( sensu lato) more or less 
delineates the present national boundary. The border is 
placed at c. 448-611 m elevation where it goes roughly 
north-south, closest to Trat town, and slightly higher, 
around 720 m, a few km further north. From here on, 
the border swings slightly eastward to intersect with the 
PhnomThom—Khao Kuap ridge, where it is positioned 
significantly higher, at roughly 1,100 m elevation. 
Thereafter the border continues north, rapidly losing 
elevation. Since the mountain slopes precipitously down 
to the plains on the entire Thai side of the border, from 
PhnomThom southwards, there is only a tiny amount 
of montane (>1,000 m elevation) habitat (ca. 0.26 km 2 ), 
and only, at most, about 10 km 2 of habitat at >400 m 
elevation along the whole ca. 22 km length of the border 
east ofTrat town northwards to PhnomThom. Such a 
small area of submontane and montane habitat on the 
Thai side would be unlikely to support a significant 
population of G.ferrarius .. 

The highest mountain in SE Thailand is Khao Soi 
Dao, the southern and northern peaks of which, Khao 
Soi DaoTai (1,670 m) and Khao Soi Dao Nua (1,556 
m), are at 12°56'N 102°12'E and 13°02’N 102°10'E, 
respectively. Khao Sabap (924 m) lies further south at 
12°33'N 102°12'E. Although both Khao Soi Dao and 
Khao Sabap are isolated from the mountains further 
east, they both support a few south Indochinese 
endemics, including populations of Arborophila 
[cambodiana] diversa and Lophura nycthemera lewisi. In 
particular, Khao Soi Dao, which encompasses ca. 40 
km 2 of land above the 1,000 m contour, and a further 
144 km 2 of land between 600 m and 1,000 m (data 
held on file at Center for Conservation Biology, Mahidol 


University), supports a relatively diverse montane bird 
fauna, containing populations of Rhipidura albicollis, 
Brachypteryx leucophrys, Cochoa viridis, Myiomela leucura 
and Niltava grandis among other species. Yet both Khao 
Sabap and Khao Soi Dao have been explored 
ornithologically without yielding any specimens of 
Garrulax ferrarius. In particular, 391 specimens of birds 
were collected on Khao Soi DaoTai at elevations of 1,464 
m down to 229 m during 25 February to 14 April 1966 
(King 1966), and 1,328 others banded and released 
during the same period (McClure and Leelavit 1972), 
without detecting Garrulax ferrarius. In addition, PDR 
did not find G. ferrarius during a visit to the summit of 
Khao Soi DaoTai during 6-9 December 2000. Smith 
and, later, Ben King, also collected on Khao Sapab, 
which is the type locality for Arborophila [ cambodiana ] 
diversa, without obtaining Garrulax ferrarius (Riley 1938, 
King 1966). This strongly indicates that G. ferrarius is 
absent from both Khao Soi Dao and Khao Sapab. 

Other taxa described from Khao Kuap but which, 
like G. ferrarius, are apparently absent from Khao Soi 
Dao and Khao Sabap are Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes 
mcclellandii canescens (listed in error for SE Thailand by 
Robson 2000), for which Smith obtained two specimens, 
on 24 and 26 December 1929 (Riley 1933), and Grey- 
chinned Minivet Pericrocotus Solaris nassovicus Deignan 
(one male and one female collected on 24 December 
1929: Riley 1938). While some bulbuls are dispersive, 
following fruiting or flowering trees, Mountain Bulbul 
does not appear to have been found anywhere below 
800 m throughout its South-East Asian range, while P. 
Solaris is also mainly montane. Although relatively little 
is directly known concerning the habitat and elevation 
range of H. m. canescens , the coincidence of these species 
being collected along with G. ferrarius suggests a 
montane or upper submontane origin for the latter, too. 

Khao Banthat is the north-western outlier of the 
Cardamom Mountains, an area of over 4,000 km 2 of 
steep, moist forested upland, to which it is connected 
by a neck of submontane terrain, so it is not surprising 
that it may support a few species which are not found 
in smaller and more isolated mountains a short distance 
to the west. 

The bird fauna of the Cardamom Mountains is 
currently the subject of renewed study following a field 
expedition conducted by Fauna and Flora International 
in early 2000 (Steinheimer et al. 2000). 


TAXONOMIC AFFINITIES 

Morphologically, ferrarius is like Garrulax milleti in 
overall plumage pattern, but has a browner hood 
(particularly throat and upper breast) and a darker and 
slatier-grey upper mantle and lower breast, with white 
on the sides of the neck being restricted to a large isolated 
spot (the white neck patch extends in a whitish band 
from the upper mantle to the lower breast in milleti). 
Both species share an expansion of the orbital skin 
behind the eye-(a feature which, contra the illustrations 
in Boonsong Lekagul and Round (1991) and Robson 
(2000) is also shared with G. strepitans.) However, the 
orbital skin is coloured bluish-white in ferrarius and 
milleti, and darker, bluish-slate in strepitans. Vocalizations 
are unlikely to shed any light on taxonomy in this case. 



44 


P. ROUND & C. ROBSON 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


While it is possible that detailed analysis may detect 
some consistent minor differences among taxa, to the 
human ear the group calls appear to be indistinguishable 
among all members of the G. strepitans superspecies, 
consisting of a rapid maniacal laughter, introduced by a 
few dry chuck notes. 

Although Delacour (1946) united all three forms, 
Deignan (1963, 1964) treated milleti , the form which 
more closely resembles ferrarius, as a full species, while 
placing ferrarius as a subspecies of the somewhat 
dissimilar strepitans. Neither author provided reasons for 
their respective treatments (Inskipp etal. 1996). In fact, 
the morphological differences between both ferrarius and 
milleti on the one hand, and ferrarius and strepitans on 
the other, should be sufficient for ferrarius to be separable 
from both in the field. Deignan’s placing of ferrarius with 
strepitans , the less similar of the two, while treating the 
rather more similar milleti as a full species, in particular 
seems untenable. Since ferrarius is isolated from both 
milleti and strepitans by roughly 400 km of drier, lowland 
terrain, it would be more appropriate to treat these as 
three of five allospecies within a G. strepitans 
superspecies. 

CONCLUSIONS 

On the evidence previously available, and in any case 
since almost the entire summit ridge of Khao Kuap lies 
in Cambodia, the decision to omit Garrulax ferrarius 
from the Thai bird faunal listing in Boonsong Lekagul 
and Round (1991) was justified. However, given the 
proximity of the summit of Khao Kuap to the Thai 
border, Smith might easily have collected G. ferrarius 
on the Thai side. Whether the precise type locality is in 
Thailand or Cambodia seems irrelevant since the habitat 
was continuous on both sides of the border, and it is 
certainly plausible that a few G. ferrarius occur, or 
formerly occurred, on the Thai side. Yet, owing to the 
extremely small amount of montane and submontane 
habitat, and the precipitous topography on the Thai side, 
which may perhaps make the habitat less suitable, the 
population, if any, in SEThailand will be extremely small. 
The Thai-Cambodian border area in Chanthaburi and 
Trat provinces certainly deserves further investigation 
as soon as it becomes safe to enter it. 

Since G. ferrarius is diagnosable on plumage from 
both G. strepitans and G. milleti and was originally 
described as a full species, in the absence of any new 
compelling evidence to the contrary, it seems preferable 
to continue to treat it as such. 


The authors are grateful to Mr. Sompon Tanhan, Forest Engineer¬ 
ing Division, Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, for facilitating 
access to 1:50,000 maps of the Cambodian border areas. The Na¬ 
tional Archives, Bangkok, provided access to old maps ofTrat and 
Chanthaburi Provinces. E. C. Dickinson and Frank Steinheimer 
commented on drafts of this manuscript. 


REFERENCES 

Boonsong Lekagul and Round, P. D. (1991) A guide to the birds of 
Thailand. Bangkok: Saha Karn Bhaet. 

Deignan, H. G. (1963) Checklist of the birds of Thailand. Bulletin 
226. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. 

Deignan, H. G. (1964) Subfamily Timaliinae. Pp. 240-427 in E. 
Mayr and R. A. Paynter, eds. Check-list of birds of the world , 10. 
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. 

Delacour, J. (1946) Les timaliines. L’Oiseau 17: 7-36. 

Duckworth, J. W., Salter, R. E. and Khounboline, K. (eds.) (1999) 
Wildlife in Lao PDR: 1999 status report. Vientiane: IUCN-The 
World Conservation Union, Wildlife Conervation Society and 
Centre for Protected Areas and Watershed Management. 

Haas, M. R. (1964) Thai-English Student’s Dictionary. California: 
Stanford University Press. 

Inskipp,T. P., Lindsey, N. and Duckworth, W. (1996) An annotated 
checklist of the birds of the Oriental region. Sandy, U.K.: Oriental 
Bird Club. 

Kalyakin, M. V. and Korzun, L. P. (1998) Ornithological studies in 
Vu Quang Nature Reserve, July-September 1997. Final Report. 

King, B. (1966) List of bird skins and specimens collected in Thai¬ 
land from 1 March 1964 to 30 June 1966 under MAPS 
Programme. Report No. 1, Research Project no. 24/1. Migration 
Studies of Birds in Thailand. Bangkok: ASRCT. 

McClure, H. E. and Leelavit, P. (1972) Birds banded in Asia during 
the MAPS Program, by locality, from 1963 through 1971. San Fran¬ 
cisco: U.S. Army Research and Development Group. 

Meteorological Department (1987) Climatological data of Thailand: 
30-year period ( 1956-1985 ). Bangkok: Ministry of Communica¬ 
tions. 

Riley, J. W. (1930) Descriptions of three new birds from Siam. Proc. 
Biol. Soc. Washington 43: 189-192. 

Riley, J. W. (1933) Descriptions of two new birds from Southeastern 
Siam. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 46: 155-156. 

Riley, J. W. (1938) Birds from Siam and the Malay Peninsula in the 
United States National Museum collected by Drs. Hugh M. Smith 
and William L. Abbott. Bulletin 172. Washington, D.C: 
Smithsonian Institution. 

Robson, C. (2000) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. Lon¬ 
don: New Holland. 

Royal Thai Survey Department (1934) Aviation Map of Chanthaburi. 
1:200,000. Corrected 1953; reprinted 1954. Bangkok. (InThai.) 

Royal Thai Survey Department (1969) Ban Khlong Kut. 1:50,000 
Map Sheet Number 5533 IV. Series L7017. Edition 1-RTSD. 

Royal Thai Survey Department (1971) Khao Banthat. 1:50,000 Map 
Sheet Number 5533 I. Series L7017. Edition 1-RTSD. 

Royal Thai Survey Department (1986) Changwat Chanthaburi: 
1:250,000 Map Sheet No. ND 48-13. Series 1501 S; Edition 2- 
RTSD, Bangkok. 

Steinheimer, F. D., Eames, J. C., Meas, C. and Ros, B. (2000) Birds. 
Pp. 87-98 in J. C. Daltry and F. Momberg, eds. Cardamom 
Mountains Biodiversity Survey 2000. Cambridge, U.K.: Fauna 
& Flora International, Cambridge. 

WinchakufThongchai (1994) Siam mapped: a history of the geo-body 
of a nation. Hawaii: University of Hawaii. 


Philip Round, Center for Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama 6 
Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand 

Craig Robson, 63 Stafford Street, Norwich, NR2 3BD, U.K. 



FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 45-55 


The rediscovery of Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher 
Eutrichomyias rowleyi on Sangihe, Indonesia 

JON RILEY and JAMES C. WARDILL 


Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher Eutrichomyias rowleyi , endemic to the island of Sangihe, Indonesia, 
was previously known with certainty from a single specimen collected in 1873.Two inconclusive 
field sightings of the species were made before the species was rediscovered in October 1998, in 
primary forest on the Mt Sahendaruman caldera in southern Sangihe. Our work suggests that the 
paradise-flycatcher is restricted to forested valleys between 475 m and 650 m on Mt 
Sahendaruman, and that its population numbers at least 19 birds and probably no more than 135 
birds. This paper provides details of its distribution and habitat, breeding biology, behaviour and 
vocalizations, plumage, taxonomic relationships, and conservation status. Eutrichomyias rozvleyi is 
classified as Critically Endangered by BirdLife International.The bird’s extremely restricted range, 
its small population size and the continued loss of its forest habitat are considered to be the main 
threats to its survival. 


INTRODUCTION AND HISTORY 

In 1873, a native hunter working for the German 
naturalist A. B. Meyer collected the type, which still 
remains the only specimen, of Cerulean Paradise- 
flycatcher Eutrichomyias rowleyi from Tabukan on the 
island of Great Sangi [Sangihe], Indonesia. The bird 
had bluish upperparts, light pale blue underparts, a 



i -- 125 ° 30 ' _ _ 401 

Map 1. Location of Sangihe island and place names 
mentioned in the text. 


somewhat whitish belly, and bore distinctive, long 
bristles around the bill (Meyer 1878).Twenty years later, 
Meyer published a more complete description of the 
bird and a brief discussion of its taxonomic relationships 
(Meyer and Wiglesworth 1898). Later, a review of the 
specimen’s morphological peculiarities led to the 
establishment of the monotypic genus Eutrichomyias 
(Meise 1939). 

A number of other naturalists made collections on 
Sangihe during the late nineteenth century (details in 
Blasius 1888, Meyer and Wiglesworth 1898), yet no 
further specimens of the paradise-flycatcher were 
obtained. Indeed, it was not until 105 years after the 
type specimen was collected that any field sightings of 
E. rozvleyi were claimed. 

In December 1978, M. D. Bruce observed a single 
bird on the upper forested slopes of Mt Awu 
(03°41.40'N 125°26.75'E) in northern Sangihe; the 
sighting was only first published in 1986 (White and 
Bruce 1986). Meanwhile, searches by F. G. Rozendaal 
on Mt Sahendaruman (03°29.90'N 125°30.80'E) in 
southern Sangihe in May and June 1985 (Rozendaal 
and Lambert 1999), and K. D. Bishop, who visited the 
same secondary forest patch on Mt Awu as Bruce in 
1986 (Whitten et al. 1987), failed to find the paradise- 
flycatcher. 

This led to the presumption of the species’s probable 
extinction (Whitten et al. 1987). Other authorities had 
taken a more optimistic view, stating E. rowleyi to be 
one of the rarest birds in the world (Eck 1980), and it 
was classified as a Critically Endangered species (Collar 
etal. 1994). 

The first author first visited Sangihe in August 1995 
as leader of an ornithological expedition from the 
University of York, England, and on 11 September 1995 
a colleague, J. O. H. Small, claimed to have observed a 
single E. rozvleyi at Talawid Atas (03°42.66'N 
125°24.55'E) on the lower slopes of Mt Awu (Riley 
1997a). No further sightings were made at this site, or 
elsewhere on the island. A survey in August 1996 also 
failed to find the paradise-flycatcher (F. R. Lambert in 
litt. September 1996), as did our second survey in 









46 


J. RILEY & J. C. WARDILL 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Mt.SAHENGDARUMAN PROTECTED AREA 
VEGETATION MAP 



E US-31 £125 3? £125^3' El»‘34' 


y Low Montane Forest (> 800 m) 

[ j Hill Forest with Palms (< 800 m) 

| j Secondary Scrub and Forest with relict primary trees 

Map 2. Structural vegetation classification of forest habitat 
on the Mt. Sahendaruman caldera: based on fieldwork 
between August—December 1998. 

Key: 

Vegetation class A: Low montane forest (> 800 m) 
Vegetation class B: Hill forest with palms (< 800 m) 
Vegetation class C: Secondary scrub and forest with relict 
forest trees 

All boundaries are approximate with a resolution of +/- 200 
m. 

October-December of the same year (Riley 1997b). We 
returned to Sangihe in August 1998 and on 2 October 
1998 one of our local assistants reported having seen 
two small, all blue, long-tailed birds.They had been seen 
feeding in tall trees in a small gully close to the edge of 
primary forest on Mt Sahendaruman (throughout this 
paper we use this name to refer to the entire caldera 
ridge) in southern Sangihe.The following morning, JR 
descended into the gully and at c. 09h00 saw two birds 
sallying for insects in the crowns of tall canopy trees 
(photograph 5) and was able to confirm that they were 
E. rowleyi. Further surveys on the lower forested slopes 
of Mt Sahendaruman, until late February 1999, revealed 
the presence of a small, critically endangered population 
of paradise-flycatchers restricted to five steep forested 
valleys. 

This paper is based on the results of ornithological 
surveys conducted between 24 August-12 September 
and 12-25 October 1995, 19 October-18 December 
1996, 19 August-20 December 1998, 28 January-1 
March 1999, and 7-11 December 1999. 


SANGIHE 

Sangihe island is part of the northern volcanic range of 
North Sulawesi, an area dominated by young and active 
volcanoes, and lies on a narrow submarine ridge 
extending from Sulawesi, through Sangihe and the 
Talaud islands, to the Philippine island of Mindanao. 
The topography is steep; the north of the island is 
dominated by Mt Awu (1 j 340 m), an active volcano, 
and in the south the extinct volcanic caldera of Mt 
Sahendaruman rises to a peak of 1,031 m on Mt 
Sahengbalira (Map 1). 

Sangihe had largely been deforested by 1920 
(Heringa 1921, Whitten et al. 1987) and the only 
extensive area of forest remaining on the island is found 
at higher altitudes on the steep slopes of Mt 
Sahendaruman. Between August and December 1998 
habitat boundaries were mapped, suggesting that 
approximately 800 ha of closed canopy forest remain 
(Hicks and Riley in prep.).The forest in this area extends 
along the ridge-tops from Mt Bongkongsio (818 m) to 
Mt Palenti (827 m) with some small outlying patches, 
for example on the peak of Mt Sahendaruman (806 m). 
On the steeper south-facing slopes, the forest extends 
down in places to altitudes of c. 450 m. On the gentler 
north and eastern-facing slopes forest loss has been far 
greater, with agricultural land reaching the ridge-top in 
many places. Only in a few isolated valleys, notably below 
Mt Batukakiraeng (980 m), does forest extend far from 
the ridge, down to altitudes of c. 650 m (Map 2). 

The forest vegetation on Mt Sahendaruman was 
classified into two structural vegetation classes (Map 2). 
At lower altitudes - to c. 800 m - forest is made up of 
broadleaf semi-trophophyllous trees, 10-20 m tall, with 
emergent trees to 35 m. There are abundant lianas and 
other climbers, and an understorey characterized by 
many palms Areca spp., with occasional tree ferns 
Cyatheaceae and screw palms Pandanaceae. At higher 
altitudes, above c. 850 m, habitat is dominated by shorter 
broadleaf semi-trophophyllous trees, 5-10 m tall, with 
emergent trees to 20 m. There are many climbers and 
epiphytes, with some dense stands of gingers 
Zingiberaceae, whilst in some areas, particularly on the 
ridge-top, screw palms form extensive, single-species 
canopies. 

Most of the island has been converted to a mosaic of 
plantations, shifting gardens and other agricultural land. 
Principal tree crops include coconut, clove, nutmeg, 
breadfruit, durian, and other fruit trees. Within this 
mosaic, small areas of land are cleared to plant root 
crops, banana, papaya and chilli. The flatter areas and 
gentler slopes are already planted with tree crops, leaving 
only the steeper slopes for such cultivation. Patches of 
secondary forest and scrub also occur on Mt Awu, 
around the Mt Sahendaruman forest, and in the centre 
of the island above Tahuna, and are characterized by 
Piper aduncum, Trema orientalise Albizia falcataria, 
Homalanthus sp. and Ficus cf. minahassae. The middle 
slopes of Mt Awu support dense secondary scrub 
dominated by tree ferns, screw palms, and gingers, whilst 
above c. 800 m this is replaced by grasses and ferns. 

There are currently no strictly protected areas (nature 
reserve, wildlife reserve, national park) on the island, 
although there have been several proposals for a c. 5,000 
ha conservation area in the vicinity of Mt Sahendaruman 














Forktail 17 (2001) 


The rediscovery of Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher on Sangihe, Indonesia 


47 


(FAO 1982, Sujatnika and Jepson 1995). A 4,268 ha 
area centred on Mt Sahendaruman is currently 
designated Protection Forest Hutan Lindung on account 
of its watershed value and is under the jurisdiction of 
the Department of Forestry. There are two other areas 
of Protection Forest on the island: one of 4,884 ha 
covering the slopes of Mt Awu, and a 1,105 ha area 
named Mt Otomata in the centre of Sangihe ( Dinas 
Kehutanan Manado, unpublished 1998). Of the three 
areas, only Mt Sahendaruman Protection Forest has any 
primary forest remaining. 

DISTRIBUTION 

Following their rediscovery on 3 October 1998, paradise- 
flycatchers were observed on 33 occasions over 31 days 
until the last sighting on 10 December 1999. All but 
one of the observations were made in five steep forested 
valleys on the lower slopes of the Sahendaruman caldera 
(Table 1). Descriptions of the five valleys follow: 

Valley 1 - Forested down to an altitude of c. 510 m 
where forest was bordered by coconut plantations and 
vegetable gardens. Above, the forest rises unbroken to 
the ridge-top at 850 m. 

Valley 2 - Forested from the summit of Mt Sahengbalira 
down to c. 400 m where forest was replaced by clove 
plantations, secondary scrub and abandoned gardens. 
Below c. 500 m there are some signs of disturbance e.g. 
tree cutting, and the forest was dominated by trees 
locally called Subulre, with some sago palms and trees 
locally called Sahayi; trees were c. 15 m tall and narrow 
girthed, and undergrowth was sparse. A large stream 
runs along the valley bottom. This valley is separated 
from Valley 1 by a steep ridge rising 250 m between the 
two. 

Valley 3 - A narrow, very steep gully, sparsely forested. 
The ridge-tops and valley sides were dominated by 
secondary scrub. We made one observation of a single 
paradise-flycatcher in this scrub. 

Valley 4 - A steep river valley surrounded on all sides by 
extremely steep slopes. The forest was largely 
undisturbed and extended from the summit of Mt 
Sahengbalira down to at least 600 m.The lower extent 
of forest was not ascertained as access to the lower 
reaches was prevented by a 30 m high waterfall at c. 600 
m.The valley was bordered on some ridge-tops by well- 
established secondary forest. 


Valley 5 - A narrow gully at the foot of a 10 m high 
waterfall that was bordered below and on both sides by 
clove, nutmeg and coconut plantations. The gully was 
dominated by secondary forest and scrub. Forest 
appeared to extend upwards from the waterfall to the 
ridge-top but this could not be confirmed. 

Forest in these valleys was noticeably different in 
character to that on ridge-tops at the same altitude.Trees 
were larger and taller, with the forest canopy at c. 17- 
25 m, and there were many emergent trees. Common 
plant species in the mid-storey of the forest - to c. 15m 

- included the trees Myristica cf. fatua. Ficus cf. 
minahassae , Saurauia sp., Gironniera sp. and Syzygium 
sp., and the palm Arenga cf. pinnata. More striking was 
the lack of vegetation between heights of c. 2-5 m; for 
example the gingers, palms and climbers which 
characterized the forest elsewhere were largely absent, 
although Areca palms remained frequent. One common 
plant of the mid-storey, particularly close to streams, 
was a species of Urticaceae, and a Leea sp. shrub was 
also present. This thin mid-storey encouraged a dense 
herb layer, with many ferns, lilies (possibly Dianella sp.) 
and succulent perennials e.g. Pentaphragma sp. 

A further eight valleys were surveyed for paradise- 
flycatchers but no sightings were made. Two of these 
sites were at higher altitudes - between 710 m to 850 m 

- although the forest habitat was judged similar to that 
in valleys where paradise-flycatchers were observed.The 
precise upper altitudinal limit of the species’s distribution 
has not yet been ascertained owing to the difficulty of 
surveying these areas. 

Three of the eight valleys were within the paradise- 
flycatcher’s known altitudinal range and represented 
suitable habitat; however, surveys were hampered by 
torrential rain and birds may have been overlooked.The 
remaining valleys were dominated by secondary scrub 
and thought unlikely to support paradise-flycatchers. 

The only sighting of E. rowleyi away from these 
forested valleys was of a single bird seen in secondary 
scrub on the steep slopes above valley 3. Since over 100 
days of fieldwork by the authors between 1995 and 1999 
produced no other records away from valleys, we suggest 
that paradise-flycatchers favour the sheltered habitat in 
these valleys and forage only occasionally in forest on 
ridge-tops. 

Within the valleys, birds were encountered in both 
primary (85% of observations) and secondary habitat 
(15% of observations). There were no records of birds 
in secondary forest remote from primary habitat. This 
suggests that E. rowleyi favours primary forest in valleys, 
can forage in secondary habitat that is bordered by 


Table 1 . Summary of observations of Eutrichomyias rowleyi in five valleys on Mount Sahendaruman, October 
1998—December 1999. 


Valley 


Altitudinal range Number of Maximum number of 

sightings paradise-flycatchers 


Date maximum 
recorded 


1 

2 

3 

4 

5 


525-625m 

475-625m 

575-625m 

600-650m 

550-600m 


18 

9 

2 

1 

3 


5-4 adults, 1 young 

4 adults 

5 adults 
3 adults 
2 adults 


3/4 October 1998 
7 December 1998 

23 November 1998 

24 November 1998 
12 December 1998 











48 


J. RILEY & J. C. WARDILL 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


primary forest, but is absent from disturbed habitat away 
from primary forest. 


PREVIOUS RECORDS 

Prior to these observations, E. rozuleyi had been recorded 
from three separate localities. The first record is that of 
the type specimen, collected by Meyer’s hunters at 
“Tabukan”. No other details about the type locality have 
been published (Meyer 1878, Meyer and Wiglesworth 
1898). 

Tabukan is the name of one of the historical 
kingdoms of Sangihe and the town of Tabukan was the 
seat of the King until Indonesian independence from 
the Dutch. After Indonesian independence the kingdom 
of Tabukan was split into three administrative sub¬ 
districts: Tabukan Utara,Tabukan Selatan andTabukan 
Tengah. Subsequently, the town of Tabukan became 
known as Tabukan Lama (literally “Old Tabukan”). JR 
visited Tabukan Lama (03°40.27'N 125°32.45'E), 
situated on the east coast of Sangihe, in 1995 and 1996. 
There is no forest in the vicinity of the town and, 
according to villagers, land has been dominated by 
coconut plantations for at least 80 years. It seems 
unlikely, even if the type specimen originated there, that 
paradise-flycatchers could survive in such habitat. The 
three Tabukan districts run along almost the entire east 
coast of Sangihe and it is impossible, given the lack of 
information as to the type’s provenance, to narrow the 
collecting locality beyond this. However, a number of 
bird species from Sangihe also previously known only 
by one or two specimens are now considered to be 
restricted to the Mt Sahendaruman forest: Sangihe 
Shrike-thrush Colluricincla sanghirensis (Rozendaal and 
Lambert 1999), Sangihe White-eye Zosterops nehrkorni 
(Rasmussen et al. 2000) and Golden Bulbul Alophoixus 
affinis platenae (Riley 1997b). Such circumstantial 
evidence might suggest that the type of E. rowleyi was 
also obtained from these forests. 

The second record of the paradise-flycatcher was 
made by M. D. Bruce in December 1978 ‘in the forested 


upper slopes of G. [Mt.] Awu, northern end of Sangihe’ 
but was not published until eight years later (White and 
Bruce 1986). The bird was observed in ‘areas above 
human habitation where apparently suitable habitat was 
more extensive’ but no other details were noted because 
the significance of the observation was not fully 
appreciated (M. D. Bruce in litt. to J. Riley, May/June 
2000). Whilst the observer is confident about the 
sighting, we feel that the lack of information 
accompanying this important record makes it impossible 
to review critically, and prefer to treat the sighting as 
unproven. 

In 1986, K. D. Bishop visited the site of Bruce’s 
observation but saw no paradise-flycatchers over a three- 
day period (Whitten et al. 1987). In 1995 and 1996, JR 
spent a total of 15 days on the slopes of Mt Awu around 
the villages of Kedang (03°40.11'N 125°28.23'E), 
Talawid Atas and Kendahe (03°41'N 125°22'E) 
searching for the paradise-flycatcher. Whilst these 
surveys led to the observation of a possible paradise- 
flycatcher at Talawid Atas in 1995, no confirmed 
sightings were made. 

The 1995 sighting was made by J. O. H. Small who 
claimed to have observed a single E. rowleyi in secondary 
scrub at c. 250 m above the village ofTalawid Atas (Riley 
1997a). Whilst published as inconclusive, this record 
should be withdrawn, as a number of features in the 
description do not agree with our knowledge of E. rowleyi 
(J. O. H. Small in litt. to J. Riley, March 2000), and Small 
has withdrawn other observations made during the same 
period (Rasmussen et al. 2000). 

The 1978 and 1995 records were made on the slopes 
of Mt Awu, and the continued survival of a second 
population of paradise-flycatchers in northern Sangihe 
would be of great importance. However, three factors 
lead us to conclude that, in all probability, Mt Awu does 
not support such a population. First, there is no forest 
above c. 800 m and the few small patches of secondary 
forest are confined to steep valleys on the mountain’s 
lower slopes; in three field trips to Sangihe totalling 12 
months, we have yet to locate habitat with the 
characteristics of that inhabited by paradise-flycatchers 


Table 2. Summary of valleys potentially occupied by E. rowleyi on the Mt Sahendaruman caldera. 


Mountain 1 

Number 
of valleys 2 

Valleys with 
birds 
present 3 

Valleys with 
habitat 
present 4 

Surveyed 5 Observed 6 

Valleys with 
habitat 
absent 7 

Surveyed Observed 

Maximum 

valleys 

occupied 8 

Minimum 

valleys 

occupied 6 

Batukakiraeng 

5 

0 

1 


4 

0 0 

5 

0 

Kalumelahana 

7 

0 

2 


4 

0 1 

6 

0 

Sahengbalira 

17 

5 

7 


9 

0 1 

16 

5 

Batungbakara 

7 

0 

0 


0 

3 4 

0 

0 

Bongkongsio 

8 

0 

0 


0 

4 4 

0 

0 

Total 

44 

5 

10 


17 

7 10 

27 

5 


1 = peak on caldera ridge from which valleys run off. 

2 = number of valleys with watercourse separated by c. 250 m. 

3 = number of valleys where E. rowleyi were observed. 

4 = number of valleys with closed-canopy forest judged suitable for E. rowleyi. 

5 = direct observation made in valley. 

6 = observation made from ridges near valley. 

7 = number of valleys with no habitat judged suitable for E. rowleyi. 

8 = total number of valleys with closed-canopy forest potentially occupied by E. rowleyi. 

9 - total number of valleys where E. rowleyi was observed. 






Forktail 17 (2001) 


The rediscovery of Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher on Sangihe, Indonesia 


49 


on Mt Sahendaruman. However, until fieldwork is 
conducted in the secondary scrub and forest at lower 
altitudes, there remains a remote possibility that 
paradise-flycatcher habitat will be found. Second, Mt 
Awu is an active volcano and this may help explain the 
lack of forest; for example, local people state that a 
violent eruption in 1966 caused serious damage to 
houses and vegetation around the mountain.Third, there 
are no conclusive sightings from northern Sangihe: the 
two published records have been either inadequately 
documented or withdrawn altogether.Therefore, whilst 
the steep, inaccessible terrain on Mt Awu may still hide 
a population of paradise-flycatchers, the lack of suitable 
forest, the inadequacy of the published records, and the 
lack of confirmatory sightings suggest that E. rowleyi is 
now restricted to hill forest in steep valleys between c. 
475 m and at least 650 m on Mt Sahendaruman. 


POPULATION 

Quantitative surveys using a point count technique 
produced only two records of E. rowleyi from 150-point 
counts. These data are insufficient to yield a reliable 
estimate of population density for E. rowleyi. Therefore, 
in this paper, we produce a qualitative assessment of 
the paradise-flycatcher’s population. 

In general, we assumed that E. rowleyi is restricted to 
valleys with closed-canopy forest around the Mt. 
Sahendaruman caldera. An initial analysis aimed to 
identify the total number of valleys around the caldera 
ridge. Individual valleys were specified as those with 
watercourses separated by more than c. 250 m from the 
watercourse in the adjacent valley. Initial identification 
of valleys was made using a 1:50,000 base map (Peta 
Rupabumi Indonesia series 1991).This yielded a total 
of 44 valleys on the caldera’s slopes. 

Based on direct field surveys or observations from 
adjacent ridges and the mountain’s lower slopes, we 
assessed whether closed-canopy forest was present or 
absent in each valley. A total of 27 valleys were found to 
support some closed-canopy forest. 

No account was taken of E. rowleyi’s altitudinal range 
when assessing habitat availability. Hence, it is possible 
that valleys thought to contain suitable habitat may lie 
above the species’s upper altitudinal limit. There are, 
therefore, 27 valleys which could support populations 
of E. rowleyi , the majority located on the slopes below 
the peaks of Mt. Batukakiraeng, Mt. Kalumelahana and 
Mt. Sahengbalira (Table 2). 

The largest flock size recorded in any valley was five 
birds. To produce a total population estimate we assume 
each of these 27 valleys supports five birds. This leads 
us to conclude that the maximum population estimate 
is 135 birds. This is clearly an arbitrary figure and until 
more is known about the species’s ecology and 
distribution, it is used with caution. 

The minimum population is assumed to be the sum 
of the total number of birds seen in each individual valley 
(Table l).This is based on the assumption that birds do 
not move between valleys, a statement evidently 
supported by concurrent observations of paradise- 
flycatchers in adjacent valleys (Valleys 1 and 2) on three 
occasions. Using this method the population of E. rowleyi 


on the Mt. Sahendaruman caldera is estimated to be 
between 19 and 135 birds. 


BREEDING BIOLOGY 

A number of observations of breeding activity were made 
and these are summarized below. 

Nests 

Two disused nests were found that we strongly suspect 
to be those of E. rowleyi. The first was found on 11 
October 1998 in Valley 1 at 625 m. It was located in a 5 
m tall understorey tree Syzygium sp. and built between 
the terminal fork of the lowest branch, 2 m off the 
ground. The second nest was found on 24 November 
1998 in Valley 3 at 610 m.The nest was located 2.5 m 
off the ground in a fork in the outer branch of an 
unidentified understorey tree. Both nests were cup¬ 
shaped and woven around the fork of the branch. Both 
were constructed from dried palm leaf fibres (possibly 
Arenga sp.) mixed with dried grass fibres and fixed to 
the tree branch by tougher vine fibres. 

The first nest was in a good state of preservation 
and will be deposited in the Museum Zoologicum 
Bogoriense, Cibinong, Indonesia. The nest pocket was 
slightly oval and of the following dimensions: widest 
diameter 47 mm; narrowest 39 mm, depth to top 40 
mm. The second nest was partially disintegrated and 
was not preserved. 

Whilst it is not possible to prove conclusively that 
these are nests of E. rowleyi - no nest construction or 
attendance was observed - there are a number of factors 
that support this assumption. Primarily, the size and 
form of the nests agree closely with those of other 
members of the Monarchini, being very similar to the 
nests of the Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea 
in North Sulawesi; both nests are slightly oval in shape, 
of similar size, woven from dried grass and leaf fibres, 
and constructed in a suitable fork in an understorey 
tree (JCW pers. obs., see photograph p. 40 in Kinnaird 
1995). Meyer andWiglesworth (1898: 377) provide the 
following description of an H. azurea nest from Sulawesi: 
‘Cup-shaped, the size of a Chaffinch’s [Fringilla coelebs ], 
rather loosely built of moss and coarse straw-like strips 
of dead grasses or wood, ornamented externally with a 
few large seeds, lined with fine root-fibres. Placed on 
the twigs of a tree. Height 50 mm, breadth 65 mm, 
breadth of pocket 52 mm, depth of pocket 38 mm.’ Since 
E. rowleyi is the sole representative of the Monarchini 
on Sangihe (Riley and Wardill in prep.) this suggests 
that these are nests of the paradise-flycatcher. 
Additionally, the nest discovered on 11 October 1998 
was situated within 50 m of trees frequented over the 
ensuing months by a pair of E. rowleyi with young (see 
below). Finally, a knowledgeable local hunter (who was 
able to take fieldworkers to see paradise-flycatchers at a 
new locality in November 1998) claimed that the nest 
found in Valley 3 was that of E. rozuleyi. 

Eggs 

A small fragment of eggshell discovered directly below 
the nest in Valley 1 on 11 October 1998 had a white 
ground colour with fine brick-red flecks. In general, 



50 


J. RILEY & J. C. WARDILL 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Monarchini eggs are whitish or huffish marked with 
brown (Coates and Bishop 1997). Assuming the eggshell 
came from the nest, its appearance supports the 
identification of the nest as that of the paradise- 
flycatcher. The eggshell fragment will be deposited in 
the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, Cibinong, 
Indonesia. 

Young birds 

Three observations were made of family groups of E. 
rowleyi. The first, on 3 October 1998, involved two adult 
birds and a single juvenile in Valley 1 at 625 m. The 
juvenile bird was noted to be smaller, with a short tail 
and grey, fluffy underparts. One adult was observed 
feeding a small invertebrate to the young bird. The 
second observation was at the same location on 9 
December 1998; between 11 hOO and 12h30 three birds 
were seen together - two adults feeding a single 
immature. The young bird perched, well hidden, in a 
tree fern in secondary forest immediately adjacent to 
primary forest. The adults searched for food for c. 45 
seconds and on their return the immature responded 
by opening its gape and flicking its wings; no food items 
could be identified. Finally, on 6 February 1999 three 
birds - possibly the same family party - were observed 
briefly at the same location. 

BEHAVIOUR 

The majority of observations of E. rozvleyi were of birds 
feeding in small single-species groups of 2-5 birds. On 
two occasions birds were seen in mixed feeding flocks. 
On 23 November 1998, a single paradise-flycatcher was 
feeding in close association with a single Sangihe Shrike- 
thrush and three Sulawesi Cicadabirds Coracina morio 
in secondary scrub dominated by Piper aduncum and a 
Sterculiaceae shrub locally named Kupamanuk. Later 
the same day, five birds were observed feeding in a loose 
flock with three Sangihe Shrike-thrushes in Valley 4. 

Cerulean Paradise-flycatchers generally feed in the 
canopy and subcanopy of c. 15 m tall trees but also 
descend to low understorey vegetation such as ferns and 


rattans. Birds feed in an active manner, often hovering, 
making looping sallies, and even descending to the 
ground to recover invertebrates. Flycatching is common 
but most time is spent snatching and gleaning 
invertebrates from vegetation. Whilst feeding, they often 
raise their tails above the horizontal and sometimes 
spread their tail feathers in the fashion of Rhipidura 
fantails, but less dramatically. The paradise-flycatchers 
appear to feed mostly on small invertebrates; but the 
only identified food item was a large c. 7 cm long 
Orthopteran. 

Cerulean Paradise-flycatchers often interact with a 
small squirrel Prosciurillus cf. murinus present in the Mt 
Sahendaruman forest. Of our 33 observations, nine 
involved birds following or feeding close to squirrels, 
apparently attracted to insects disturbed by them. The 
squirrels (usually alone but occasionally in groups of 2- 
4 animals) move quickly along canopy branches and 
vines, pausing to chew at bark or dead wood, presumably 
to extract invertebrate food. Paradise-flycatchers often 
approached to within a metre of the squirrel and gleaned 
for insects from the surrounding foliage. On a number 
of occasions a paradise-flycatcher was seen to scold or 
threaten the squirrel if it came too close. E. rowleyi was 
never seen to follow the larger, less active Rosenberg’s 
Squirrel Prosciurillus rosenbergii, which is the commonest 
squirrel species in the forest. 

Generally, paradise-flycatchers remained feeding in 
small areas for considerable periods of time. For 
example, on 10 December 1999, a pair of paradise- 
flycatchers was observed flycatching and leaf-gleaning 
for over two hours in small trees along a 30 m stretch of 
Valley 2. 

VOCALIZATIONS 

A number of calls were recorded - copies have been 
deposited in BLOWS, National Sound Archive, UK - 
and three call types were apparent.The most commonly 
heard vocalizations are the birds’ loud contact calls. 
These are varied and range from a single tuk note, 
uttered irregularly by feeding birds, to a very loud 


Table 3. Measurements (in mm) of adult Eutrichomyias rozvleyi mist-netted on 7 December 1998 compared to 
those of the type specimen (after Meyer 1898 and Meise 1939). 


Length measurement 

Type specimen 
(Meyer 1878) 

Type specimen 
(Meise 1939) 

Mist-netted bird 
(JR 1998) 

Total length 

180 

_ 

_ 

Bill 

13 

13 

- 

Bill tip to forehead 

- 

17 

16 

Bill tip to nostril 

- 

9.5 

9.5 

Bill width at base 

- 

9 

- 

Bill width at nostril 

- 

- 

7.5 

Bill depth at nostril 

- 

- 

4 

Bill tip to back of skull 

- 

- 

34 

Wing 

96 

95 

88 (straightened) 

85 (unstraightened) 

Tail 

92 

85 

78 

Tarsus 

21 

21 

20.5 

Hind claw 

- 

- 

6 

Rictal bristles (maximum) 

- 

- 

11 

Weight (grammes) 

~ 

“ 

19 






Forktail 17 (2001) 


The rediscovery of Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher on Sangihe, Indonesia 


51 


step...step with the emphasis on the first syllable. The 
‘typical’ call, most often heard within feeding groups, is 

a loud chew ...chew chew chew chew or 

chrew....chrew....chrew chrew chrew, which possesses a 
rasping and grating quality, and with stress on the last 
three notes. Adults seen feeding young gave this call 
repeatedly. 

A second type of contact call is a loud, descending 
trill chreechreechreechree some five seconds in duration 
with a rolled rrr sound; the trill has a slurred quality. 
This call was heard once, given by a single bird in a 
loose feeding flock with two other birds. A third variant 
is a high, scratchy, fizzing streeeeeeee given by feeding 
birds. 

Alarm calls are stridently uttered, sharp notes. One 
bird, on being flushed by the observer from a distance 
of two metres, gave a sharp schweek.. .schweek. Two birds 
coming together whilst chasing the same food item both 
uttered a sharp, clipped schwak....schwak, exposed their 
gapes and fanned their wings at each other before both 
resumed feeding. Finally, a series of rapid staccato notes 
was given by a bird in response to a squirrel. 

A wispy whistle consisting of a mixture of thin notes 
lasting five seconds was given by a single bird on one 
occasion in October 1998.This may be the birds’ song, 
but confirmation is required from more detailed 
observations and recordings. 

DESCRIPTION AND MEASUREMENTS 

On 7 December 1998 at 12h00, a single adult E. rowleyi 
was caught in a mist-net set c. 5 m from the ground on 
the sides of a steep forested gully at 625 m in Valley 1. 
Morphometric data, photographs (Photographs 1 and 
2, see photograph in Wardill and Riley 1999) and blood 
samples were taken, and a full description of the bird’s 
plumage made in bright sunlight (see below), before 
the bird was released, unharmed, approximately three 
hours later. Owing to the extreme rarity of the species it 
was decided not to collect a voucher specimen, despite 
previous calls for such material (White and Bruce 1986). 

The capture of this individual allows indirect 
comparison of measurements and plumage to the type 
specimen (Table 3, photograph 3 and 4). Measurements 
and descriptions of the type have been published by 
Meyer (1878) and Meyer and Wiglesworth (1898), 
whilst Meise (1939) provides other measurements and 
a discussion of some key features. 

Whilst the wing length:tail length ratio are similar in 
the two birds (type specimen 0.894, 1998 bird 0.886), 
the wing and tail measurements of the 1998 bird are 
8% smaller than those of the type (Meise’s 
measurements). In general, male monarchs 
(Monarchini) are larger than females (Oberholser 1911) 
and these measurements may suggest that the type 
specimen is, as was suggested in the type description, a 
male, and that the 1998 bird was an adult female. In 
addition, the type is a dull greyish blue, which might 
suggest an immature specimen (R C. Rasmussen in litt. 
April 2000; see below). 

Recent published descriptions and drawings of the 
paradise-flycatcher have been inaccurate (e.g. plate 4 in 
Whitten et al. 1987, plate 54 in Coates and Bishop 1997). 
For this reason a detailed plumage description of the 


mist-netted bird is given with notes where there are 
significant differences from published descriptions. 

Soft parts 

The iris is dark brown; the eye is relatively large, with 
an incomplete fleshy white eyering, broken above and 
bulging in front of and behind the eye; the broad-based 
bill is black; the gape is yellow; many long rictal bristles 
issue from the bill base; these rictal bristles are black, 
except for two either side of the bill which are white 
and may be freshly grown. The legs are blue-grey, the 
soles of the feet are grey, and the claws are grey. 

The eyering was surprisingly not noted by Meyer 
(1878) or Meyer and Wiglesworth (1898). However, 
Meise (1939) noted that this feature was figured by 
Gould ( Birds of New Guinea 2 Plate 20, 1882) and, as a 
footnote to Meise’s paper, Stresemann noted that the 
eyering is poorly preserved on the specimen, perhaps 
explaining why it was not mentioned by Meyer. 

Underparts 

The chin and throat are light grey, paler in the centre of 
the throat; the upper flanks and breast are grey with a 
slight blue tinge. The lower flanks and vent are lighter 
grey.The undertail-coverts are very light grey-white.The 
centre of the belly is white, whilst the upper belly and 
lower chest are mottled grey-white with a definite blue 
tint, forming the suggestion of a breast-band. The thighs 
are grey, again showing a blue tint. 

There was no suggestion of buff around the cloacal 
region in contrast to that noted by Meyer and 
Wiglesworth (1898). It is possible that this feature is a 
result of staining during the collection and preparation 
of the specimen. The underparts lack the strong blue 
tones depicted by Nash (in Whitten et al. 1987) and 
Gardner (in Coates and Bishop 1997). 

Upperparts 

The back, mantle, rump and uppertail-coverts are 
cerulean blue.The central tail feathers are almost entirely 
blue, with the shafts and centres black; the outer tail 
feathers are black with the distal half of the outer web 
blue; the undersides of all tail feathers are grey. 

Head 

The crown, nape and cheeks are dark cerulean blue, 
slightly darker than the upperparts. The forehead is a 
lighter blue, with a slight darkening around the bill. 
There is a grey wash around the sides of the neck, 
running up from the sides of the breast. 

Wing 

The underwing-coverts are light grey. The greater 
upperwing-coverts have broad cerulean blue fringes and 
very dark grey centres; the median and lesser wing- 
coverts are bright blue, being the brightest part of the 
wing; the scapulars are blue. The alula is black with a 
narrow blue fringe.The flight feathers are blackish-grey 
with the outer webs broadly fringed blue, and the inner 
webs with narrow white fringes; the blue feather fringes 
on the outer webs are slightly wider on the secondaries; 
the tertials are mainly blue with black feather centres. 
The under surface of all flight feathers are grey, with 
white inner webs. 



52 


J. RILEY & J. C. WARDILL 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Moult 

Primaries 1-4 (counted ascendantly from the outer edge 
of the wing) were worn and old, primary five was in pin, 
primary six was half-grown, and the third secondary 
was still growing but almost complete. All tail feathers 
were worn; on the right side, the third rectrix from the 
centre was half-grown. 

The immature bird observed on 9 December 1998 
had uniform smoky-grey underparts, which were much 
darker than those of the adult birds and lacked any hint 
of a blue hue on the breast. Its upperparts and head 
were dark blue with a strong grey-brown wash. The 
immature’s partial white eyering was thinner and less 
striking than on adult birds.The gape appeared orange- 
yellow, with bare parts otherwise resembling those of 
the adults. In size, the young bird appeared slightly 
smaller than the adults. 


TAXONOMIC STATUS 

Meyer initially placed the paradise-flycatcher in the 
genus Zeocephus (Meyer 1878) but later altered his 
opinion and included rozuleyi in Hypothymis, noting its 
similarity to H. puella [=H. azurea puella ] of Sulawesi 
and postulating that rozuleyi represented that species on 
Sangihe (Meyer and Wiglesworth 1898). Oberholser 
(1911) was unconvinced that rozuleyi belonged with 
Hypothymis but had not examined the specimen and 
left the situation unresolved. 

Meise (1939) erected the monotypic genus 
Eutrichomyias for the species characterized by a shorter, 
heavier bill with more steeply arched culmen in 
comparison to Hypothymis monarchs, whilst the nostrils 
are positioned more to the side of the bill and closer to 
its base. In addition, the tarsus is more robust and longer 
than in both Hypothymis and Terpsiphone (longer than 
the exposed culmen), and there are differences in the 
wing formula.The abundant nasal bristles are distinctive 
(Meise 1939, White and Bruce 1986) and visible in the 
field. 

Meise commented that the closest relative was 
probably Hypothymis (1939 p. 135), but also noted the 
similarities to Terpsiphone. In a footnote to the same paper 
Stresemann (p. 136) suggested the nearest relative was 
Terpsiphone. White (in White and Bruce 1986) noted 
‘although usually associated with Hypothymis in the past, 
this opinion was evidently based on its blue colour and 
not on critical examination.’ and that the species 
affinities needed further study. Supporting these 
statements,Watson et al. (1986) concluded that E. rozuleyi 
is a well differentiated geographical representative of 
Terpsiphone. 

Our recent observations complicate the argument. 
Links to Terpsiphone paradise-flycatchers are suggested 
by the white, fleshy partial eyering of E. rozuleyi. However, 
we were immediately struck by their resemblance to H. 
azurea of Sulawesi. Apart from the two species’ similar 
coloration, parallel behavioural traits were noted: both 
are active species that feed by gleaning and snatching 
for prey and regularly associate in pairs. Vocalizations of 
E. rozuleyi are also most similar to H. azurea , both having 
harsh, strident contact calls. By contrast, Rufous 
Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone cinnamomea talautensis 
observed on Talaud was usually seen singly, was less 


active whilst feeding, and is judged to have more 
melodious vocalizations. 

These observations do not conclusively demonstrate 
the species’s affinities, but do suggest that Eutrichomyias 
shows characters of both Hypothymis and Terpsiphone, 
although it is perhaps more closely allied to the former. 

CONSERVATION STATUS 

Eutrichomyias rozuleyi was classified as Critically 
Endangered with extinction owing to a combination of 
its small, severely fragmented distribution with a decline 
in the area, extent and quality of habitat (code Bl+2ce); 
small population size with all individuals in a single 
subpopulation (code C2b) and a small number of 
mature individuals (code Dl) (Collar et al. 1994). 

The rediscovery of E. rozuleyi in the Mt 
Sahendaruman forest and the review of previous records 
detailed above suggests the species should still be 
accorded the highest category of threat. 

E. rozuleyi is restricted to c. 800 ha (or 8 km 2 ) of forest 
in southern Sangihe and is only known from small areas 
— steep valleys - in this forest. The paradise-flycatcher’s 
population is believed to be very small and, whilst the 
figures should be used with caution, possibly does not 
exceed 19 birds, with the breeding population smaller, 
as inferred by observations of immature birds. 

At the present time, habitat loss is the main pressure 
on the species. Clearance of forest and adjacent 
secondary growth by local farmers is usually small-scale, 
plots are between 0.5 and 1.5 ha in size, but is 
concentrated on the forest edge and, of most concern, 
in valley bottoms. Certain crops are planted 
preferentially in the damp, sheltered valleys and these 
areas are sometimes the first to be cleared. 

Habitat disturbance brought about by natural 
resource extraction (Wardill and Riley in prep., Wardill 
et al. 1997) constitutes another threat. Forest products 
such as rattans, timber, firewood and food plants are 
collected by local people. The disturbance is generally 
small-scale but its effects on the forest ecosystem have 
not been quantified. The disturbance due to forest 
product extraction may also be exacerbated by the 
presence of humans within the paradise-flycatchers’ 
habitat. 

Of immediate concern is the widespread use of air 
rifles to hunt birds and small mammals for both food 
and sport. This hunting appears to be indiscriminate 
with birds of all sizes shot by hunters; a group of three 
hunters was observed carrying 20-30 birds after a day’s 
shooting in the Mt Sahendaruman forest in November 
1998. 

A considerable constraint on future conservation 
efforts is the lack of basic ecological and behavioural 
data about E. rozuleyi. Detailed work to determine 
accurately the species’s range, habitat requirements and 
population size is crucial. Similarly, the threats to the 
species have not been adequately quantified and such 
work should be a high priority. This could be combined 
with related studies of the threatened Zosterops nehrkomi 
which is also little known and mysteriously rare 
(Rasmussen et al. 2000). 

Previous conservation activities on the island has 
focused on increasing local peoples’ awareness of the 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


The rediscovery of Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher on Sangihe, Indonesia 


53 


forest and its value (Riley 1997b, J. C.Wardill pp. 50- 
53 in Hurst 1998). Encouragingly, a long-term 
conservation project building on the work undertaken 
between 1995 and 1999 is being prepared by BirdLife 
International Indonesia Programme. 

DISCUSSION 

The rediscovery of E. rozvleyi is of great significance. Four 
research projects had visited the Sangihe islands after 
Whitten et al. (1987) concluded that E. rowleyi was 
probably extinct, before a combination of perseverance 
and luck led to the rediscovery of this enigmatic species. 

This highlights again what Collar (1998) - referring 
to the history of ornithology on Cebu in the Philippines 
- called the ‘Romeo Error’: the problem of whether rare 
species should be treated as extant unless proven extinct 
or extinct unless proven extant (Diamond 1987). Could 
the presumed extinction of E. rowleyi in 1987 have 
contributed to the relative neglect of Sangihe by 
researchers and conservationists alike? 

There are similarities between the case of the Cebu 
Flowerpecker Dicaeum quadricolor (Dutson et al. 1993, 
Collar 1998) and Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher. Both 
species were believed to be extinct, whilst in reality they 
lingered on in small fragments of primary habitat. We 
hope that the rediscovery outlined in this paper 
reinforces the point that serious efforts should be made 
to find such ‘lost’ species. 

Increased awareness of Sangihe’s importance for 
global biodiversity, and the plight of its endemic birds, 
was brought about as the result of an investigation into 
restricted-range bird species by BirdLife International 
(formerly International Council for Bird Preservation). 
The distributions of restricted-range species, defined as 
those with world ranges of less than 50,000 km 2 , were 
analysed using a Geographical Information System 
(GIS) and concentrations of two or more species 
classified as Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs). Twenty-four 
EBAs were identified in Indonesia, one of them centred 
on the Sangihe and Talaud archipelagos (ICBP 1992, 
Sujatnika et al. 1995, Stattersfield et al. 1998). 

The Sangihe-Talaud EBA was thought to support 
ten restricted-range species, of which five were endemic 
(Sujatnika et al. 1995, Stattersfield et al. 1998). Recent 
research has led to the recognition of five additional 
endemic species - Sangihe Scops Owl Otas collari 
(Lambert and Rasmussen 1998), Colluricincla 
sanghirensis (Rozendaal and Lambert 1999) and Zosterops 
nehrkorni (Rasmussen et al. 2000) on Sangihe, and 
Talaud Bush-hen Amaurdrnis magnirostris (Lambert 
1998b) andTalaud Rail Gymnocrex talaudensis (Lambert 
1998a) on Talaud - reinforcing the islands’ importance 
to conservation. Of particular significance is the fact 
that five of the six bird species endemic to Sangihe are 
threatened with extinction - C. sanghirensis, Z. nehrkorni, 
E. rozvleyi. Elegant Sunbird Aethopyga duyvenbodei and 
Sangihe Hanging Parrot Loriculus catamene - whilst 
another species endemic to the Sangihe-Talaud islands, 
Red-and-blue Lory Eos histrio, is probably extinct on 
Sangihe (Collar etal. 1994, Riley 1997b).The first three 
species in this list are treated as Critically Endangered 
in Threatened birds of Asia (BirdLife International 2001) 


and all appear to survive only in small populations 
restricted to the Mt. Sahendaruman forest. 

Now that the biological significance of Sangihe’s Mt 
Sahendaruman forest is more fully appreciated, it is 
essential that serious efforts are made to understand 
the conservation requirements of the birds and other 
endemic wildlife found there. Further research and 
conservation activities are urgently needed, especially 
in the case of the Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher, in order 
to safeguard the species’s remaining habitat and to 
increase its chances of long-term survival. 

Fieldwork would not have been possible without the support and 
enthusiasm of Iwan Hunowu,Yusman Hunowu and Jorys Mole, whilst 
Bu’ Niu first drew our attention to the small, blue birds.The surveys 
were conducted under the auspices of Action Sampiri - Sangihe and 
Talaud Conservation Project, and we are indebted to our colleague 
Damien Hicks. Other team members - Michael and Meike Wangko, 
Tisna Nando, Cobar M. Hutajulu, and Fahrul P. Amama — contrib¬ 
uted field notes on Eutrichomyias rowleyi, as did Iwein Mauro. The 
1998-1999 Action Sampiri project was sponsored by BP Conserva¬ 
tion Programme, Zoologische Gesellschaft fur Arten- und 
Populationsschutz (Germany), Vereinigung fur Artenschutz und 
Zucht (Germany), Stiftung Avifauna Protecta (Germany), Papageien 
(Germany), British Ornithologists’ Union, Royal Geographical So¬ 
ciety and June Chamberlain Charity. Fieldwork was undertaken with 
permission from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and 
sponsored by the Research and Development Centre for Biology 
(PPPB). Staff of BirdLife International provided much logistical 
support, in particular Ria Saryanthi, Katharine Gotto, Adrian Long, 
Nigel Collar, Frank Lambert, and Rudyanto. Dr Siegfried Eck 
(Staatliches Museum fiirTierkunde, Dresden) kindly provided pho¬ 
tographs of the holotype. Rob Lee, Nigel Collar, Pamela Rasmussen 
and Damien Hicks all commented on a draft of this manuscript. 


REFERENCES 

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International Red Data Book. Cambridge, U.K.: BirdLife Inter¬ 
national. 

Blasius,W. (1888) Die Vogel von Gross Sanghir. Ornis 4: 527-646. 

Coates, B. J. and Bishop, K. D. (1997) A guide to the birds ofWallacea: 
Sulaivesi, the Moluccas and Lesser Sunda islands, Indonesia. Alderley,: 
Dove Publications. 

Collar, N. J. (1998) Extinction by assumption; or the Romeo Error 
on Cebu. Oryx 32: 239-244. 

Collar, N. J., Crosby, M. J. and Stattersfield, A. J. (1994) Birds to 
watch 2: the world list of threatened birds. Cambridge U.K.: BirdLife 
International. 

Diamond, J. M. (1987) Extant unless proven extinct? Or, extinct 
unless proven extant? Conservation Biol. 1: 77-79. 

Dutson, G. C. L., Magsalay, P. M. and Timmins, R. J. (1993) The 
rediscovery of the Cebu Flowerpecker Dicaeum quadricolor, with 
notes on other forest birds on Cebu, Philippines. Bird Conserva¬ 
tion International 3: 235-243. 

Eck, S. (1980) Der Sangir-Monarch - einer der rarsten Vogel der 
Welt. Mitt. Staatl.Wiss. Mus. Dresden 22/23 [1979]: 70-71. 

FAO (1982) National Conservation Plan for Indonesia. Volume 6. 
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Heringa, P. (1921) Rapport over de begroeiing van de Sangi- en 
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Hurst, J. ed. (1998) Expedition field techniques: education projects. Lon¬ 
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ICBP (1992) Putting biodiversity on the map: priority areas for global 
conservation. Cambridge: International Council for Bird Preser¬ 
vation. 

Kinnaird,M. F. (1995) North Sulawesi: a natural history guide. Jakarta: 
Wallacea Development Institute. 



54 


J. RILEY & J. C. WARDILL 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Lambert, F. R. (1997) Field assessment of the conservation status of 
Red-and-blue Lory Eos histrio in Indonesia. Bangkok, Thailand: 
IUCN Species Survival Commission. 

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1 18: 67-82. 

Lambert, F. R. and Rasmussen, P. C. (1998) A new scops owl from 
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neighbouring islands. Berlin: Friedlander. 

Oberholser, H. C. (1911) A monograph of the flycatcher genera 
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613. 

Rasmussen, P. C., Wardill, J. C., Lambert, F. R. and Riley, J. (2000) 
On the specific status of the Sangihe White-eye Zosterops nehrkorni 
with a taxonomic review of the Black-fronted White-eye Z. 
atrifrons. Forktail 16: 69-81. 

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Kukila 9: 3-36. 

Riley, J. (1997b) Biological surveys and conservation priorities on the 
Sangihe and Talaud islands, Indonesia. Cambridge, U.K.: CSB 
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Rozendaal, F. G. and Lambert, F. R. (1999) The taxonomic and 
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the conservation of global biodiversity in Indonesia. Bogor: PF1PA/ 
BirdLife International Indonesia Programme (Technical Memo¬ 
randum 3). 

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Mardiastuti, A. (1995) Conserving Indonesian biodiversity: the en¬ 
demic bird area approach. Jakarta: PHPA/BirdLife International- 
Indonesia Programme. 

Wardill, J. C. and Riley, J. (1999) Birdwatching areas: Sangihe and 
Talaud islands, Indonesia. Oriental Bird Club Bull. 29: 30-35. 

Wardill, J. C., Riley, J., Hunowu, I. and Wangko, M. F. (1997) A 
status assessment of the Gunung Sahengbalira Protection Forest, 
Sangihe, North Sulawesi. Bogor: PHPA/BirdLife International 
Indonesia Programme (Technical Memorandum 19). 

Watson, G. E., Traylor, M. A. Jr and Mayr, E. (1986) Family 
Muscicapidae. Pp. 295-375 in E. Mayr and G. W. Cottrell, eds. 
Checklist of birds of the world, 11. Cambridge, Massachusetts: 
Museum of Comparative Zoology. 

White, C. M. N. and Bruce, M. D. (1986) The birds ofWallacea 
(Sulawesi, The Moluccas and Lesser Sunda Islands) . London: Brit¬ 
ish Ornithologists’ Union (Checklist No. 7). 

Whitten, A. J., Mustafa, M. and Henderson, G. (1987) The ecology of 
Sulawesi. Yogyakarta: University Gaja Madah Press. 

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Biol. 1:42-47. 


Jon Riley, Wildlife Conservation Society - Indonesia Program, PO Box 1131, Manado 95000, Sulawesi, Indonesia; 
email: wcsstajf@manado. wasantara. net. id 

Jim Wardill, PO Box 163, Tahuna 95800, Sangihe-Talaud, Sulawesi Utara, Indonesia; email: 
wardill@manado. wasantara. net. id 


Photograph 1: Adult Eutrichomyias rowleyi mist-netted on 7 December 1998, Mt. Sahengbalira, Sangihe (photo J. Riley). 

Photograph 2: Hill forest habitat in Valley 1 on the Mt. Sahendaruman caldera, Sangihe. These trees are where the 
paradise-flycatchers were rediscovered on 3 October 1998 (photo J. C. Wardill). 

Photographs 3-5: The unique type specimen of Eutrichomyias rowleyi collected by A. B. Meyer atTabukan, Sangihe, in 1 873 
(photo J. C. Wardill). 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


The rediscovery of Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher on Sangihe, Indonesia 


55 
















FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 57-66 


The birds of Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve, 

North Sulawesi, Indonesia 

JON RILEY and JORYS MOLE 

Between 9 and 19 November 1999 we conducted ornithological surveys at Gunung [= Mount] 
Ambang, an 8,638 hectare nature reserve located on the northern peninsula of Sulawesi, Indonesia. 
The reserve supports a number of primary forest types between 700 m and 1,760 m. Surveys 
were also made in a 25,000 hectare area of primary lowland and hill forest, of uncertain official 
status, to the north of Ambang. We noted 108 species in these two areas, including the globally 
threatened Matinan Flycatcher Cyornis sanfordi , which is restricted to montane forests on the 
north peninsula of Sulawesi, and Cinnabar Hawk Owl Ninox ios, a recently described species 
previously known only from a single specimen collected from Bogani Nani Wartabone National 
Park, c. 30 km to the west. A total of 113 species has now been recorded in the reserve. Bird 
populations at Mt. Ambang are threatened primarily by loss of habitat caused by agricultural 
encroachment into the reserve and habitat degradation resulting from timber extraction. Hunting 
is a major threat to mammal species in the reserve and some birds are also affected. Clarification 
of the current status of the extension area, ideally followed by its designation as a reserve, would 
add an important site to the island’s protected area network. This move, coupled with an increase 
in patrolling and monitoring by park authorities, and publicizing the reserve amongst local 
communities, would be important first steps towards ensuring the future of Mt. Ambang’s forests 
and wildlife populations. 


INTRODUCTION 

The 159,000 km 2 island of Sulawesi is the largest island 
in the biogeographical subregion ofWallacea, the 
transition zone between Asian and Australian plants and 
animals. In part due to its size and geographic isolation, 
Sulawesi is characterized by high levels of species 
endemism and supports at least 88 species of endemic 
birds (White and Bruce 1986,Whitten et al. 1987).The 
island has been designated an Endemic Bird Area by 
BirdLife International, supporting c. 350 bird species, 
of which 54 are restricted to a particular range (Andrew 
1992, Sujatnika et al. 1995, Coates and Bishop 1997, 
Stattersfield et al. 1998). 

North Sulawesi lies just above the equator, and 
extends 50-100 km in width and approximately 450 km 
in length. The topography is characterized by steep 
mountains that were formed by recent volcanic events, 
with elevations reaching over 2,200 m. Whilst most 
remaining lowland forest areas in North Sulawesi are 
small, there are still large forest tracts in montane regions 
>1,000 m. These are important refuges for many 




Gunung Ambang 

Nature Reserve 

Sulawesi Sea \ „ # 

\ ' 

■ \ , 'V? 

\ 

J V : \,\ p ' 

Gorontalo \ Bolaang Mongondow 

Agency 1 V Regency 

Gojronlolo ^ 

' J- 

Tomini Bay 


Figure 1. Map of North Sulawesi showing the location of 
Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve. 


threatened bird species, including Minahassa Masked 
Owl Tyto inexspectata , Snoring Rail Aramidopsis plateni, 
and Maleo Macrocephalon maleo. In addition, two 
threatened species are currently known only from 
montane forests in the north peninsula: Matinan 
Flycatcher Cyornis sanfordi and the recently described 
Cinnabar Hawk Owl Ninox ios (White and Bruce 1986, 
Coates and Bishop 1997, Stattersfield et al. 1998, 
Rasmussen 1999 BirdLife International 2000). 

In recent years, faunal populations in North Sulawesi 
have dramatically declined (O’Brien & Kinnaird 1996, 
Lee 1999, Lee etal. 1999).Wildlife is intensively hunted, 
and farming practices continue to raze and compromise 
the integrity of natural landscapes. Furthermore, trade 
in birds is common (F. R. Lambert verbally December 
1999). Due to these increasing pressures on wildlife, 
protected areas have become even more critical than 
before to the conservation of Sulawesi’s fauna. 

We document the first systematic survey of bird 
populations at Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve 
between 9 and 19 November 1999, and discuss 
conservation implications. 

STUDY AREA 

The 8,638 hectare Gunung Ambang Strict Nature 
Reserve Cagar Alam was designated by the Indonesian 
government in 1978 and straddles two North Sulawesi 
districts, Minahasa and Bolaang Mongondow (Fig 1). 
The reserve is centred on the Ambang mountain ridge, 
including the peaks of Mt. Tudutalong (1,680 m), Mt. 
Moyayat (1,706 m), Mt. Molibut (1,565 m), and Mt. 
Ilantat (1,552 m) (KSDA 1998, Peta RupabumiIndonesia 
series 1991) (Fig 2). 

At present, there is conflicting information from 
different government agencies concerning the status of 







58 


J. RILEY & J. MOLE 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


an area of forest, c. 25,000 ha in size, north of the nature 
reserve. In 1983, this forest was proposed as a production 
forest by the Nature Conservation and Forest Protection 
Office (KSDA), but the proposal was never formally 
accepted by the Forestry Department (PF1PA). In 1994, 
a new proposal was submitted to PHPA to change the 
status of the expansion area to a Protection Forest Hutan 
Suaka Alain; the result of this proposal is unknown. 

The Ambang forests are important for the protection 
of watersheds for surrounding areas in North Sulawesi, 
in addition to supporting a number of threatened 
endemic species. To date, however, very little research 
has been conducted at Ambang. In the late 1970s, J. 
and K. MacKinnon carried out a short survey on crested 
black macaque Macaca nigra and other mammal and 
bird species (brief details in Rodenberg and Palete 1981, 
FAO 1982), followed by another survey of macaques in 
1986 (Sugardjito et al. 1989). More detailed studies of 
mammals and vegetation were conducted by Robert Lee 
and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in 1998 
but, unfortunately, no comprehensive ornithological 
notes were made (Lee 1998). To our knowledge few 
ornithologists have visited the reserve since MacKinnon; 
Frank Rozendaal and Rene Dekker provided some 
important records from the summit of Mt. Muajat (our 
Mt. Moyayat, following Peta Rupabumi Indonesia series 
1991) (Rozendaal and Dekker 1989), whilst other 
records were noted in a Sulawesi Bird Report (Kukila 
1990). 

WCS-Indonesia Programme worked at Gunung 
Ambang for 12 days in November 1999; we were based 
at two sites (Fig. 2). At Singsingon we surveyed three 
transects, each of 4.5 km, located in secondary, 
selectively logged, and primary forest between 1,250 m 
and 1,575 m; all transects were within the boundaries 
of the nature reserve. Surveys were also made in 



124*20’E 2V 27 S3’ 24 23 20 


Figure 2. Map of Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve and 
extension area. 


agricultural areas en route to the reserve and around the 
village of Singsingon, down to altitudes of c. 1,000 m. 
At Lake Iloloi we surveyed a single transect of 4.5 km 
located in the proposed extension area. Habitat was a 
patchwork of secondary, selectively logged, and primary 
forest between 925 m and 1,250 m. Observations were 
also made around the marshy fringes of Lake Iloloi and 
surrounding agricultural land, down to an altitude of c. 
800 m. 


HABITATS 

The reserve covers a wide altitude range from 700 m to 
1,760 m at the summit of Mt. Moyayat (FAO 1982, 
KSDA 1998) and is composed of a number of habitat 
types. The vegetation below c. 1,000 m consists of 
lowland evergreen rain forest with the canopy at c. 17- 
25 m, and some emergent trees. Characteristic medium 
to large (20-45 cm diameter at breast height) tree species 
recorded in 45 10 m x 50 m vegetation plots made along 
the Lake Iloloi transect included: Calophyllum spp., 
Eugenia sp., Knema sp., Litsea sp., Sterculia insularis , 
Acalypha caturus, and Cryptocarya celebicum. The most 
regularly recorded very large girth (generally >50 cm 
DBH) species were Pometia pinnata, Endospermum 
peltatum and Canarium asperum. Palms were generally 
uncommon; species recorded included Areca vestiaria, 
Arenga pinnata , Pinanga celebica, and Caryota mitis; 
Livistona rotundiflora, a very common palm to the east 
(for example atTangkoko-Duasudara Nature Reserve) 
and west (for example at Bogani Nani-Wartabone), is 
notably rare at Ambang. A total of 105 tree species with 
DBH >10 cm was recorded in these 45 plots. 

Above c. 1,000 m trees are not as tall, there are fewer 
emergent trees, and there is a dense understorey with 
many palms. No vegetation plots were surveyed in 1999, 
but research conducted in 1998 recorded a number of 
species characteristic of higher altitude forests on 
Sulawesi, for example Eugenia sp., Lithocarpus celebicus , 
L. bancanus, Calophyllum treubii, C. soulattri, Derris 
dalbergoides and Vaccinium sp. (Whitten et al. 1987, Lee 
1998). 

A characteristic feature of the landscape is the 
number of small lakes and marshes, including Lake Iloloi 
and Paya Swamp (00°46’295 N 124°23'442 E ). Marshes 
and lake fringes are dominated by sedges and grasses, 
whilst shrubs and stunted trees grow on drier ground, 
forming a very dense understorey. 

Habitat disturbance caused by human activities, 
primarily selective logging, has created a patchwork of 
recently cleared open areas, secondary growth, and 
regenerating forest surrounded by primary forest. Such 
disturbed areas are characterized by pioneer species 
including Trema orientalis, Macaranga hispida, Piper 
aduncum and Dendrocnide microstigma. Towards the 
reserve’s boundaries this secondary growth becomes 
more extensive and is eventually replaced by plantations 
and other agricultural land. 

NOTES ON SELECTED SPECIES 

Maleo Macrocephalon maleo (VU). A single record on 
13 November, of a lone bird calling in primary forest at 






















Forktail 17 (2001) 


Birds of Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve, Indonesia 


59 


1,375 m.This is above the species’s reported altitudinal 
limit of 1,200 m (White and Bruce 1986, Coates and 
Bishop 1997). 

Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos temminckii. 
Common, with four birds seen together at Lake Iloloi 
on 17 November. 

Ashy Woodpecker Mulleripicusfulvus. Common at Lake 
Iloloi. 

Sulawesi Hornbill Penelopides exarhatus. Common at 
Lake Iloloi up to an altitude of 1,000 m, but absent 
from forest at Singsingon. Sulawesi Hornbill is only 
occasionally recorded above c. 700 m (Coates and 
Bishop 1997). 

Knobbed Hornbii , i . Aceros cassidix. At Singsingon a single 
record of a female in primary forest at 1,325 m. 
Common in forested habitats at Lake Iloloi, with a 
maximum of eight birds - five males and three females 
- seen on 17 November in selectively logged forest. 

Purple-winged Roller Coracias temminckii. A single 
sighting on 17 November of a single bird in secondary 
forest at 1,000 m at Lake Iloloi. 

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis. A single bird recorded 
at 800 m at Lake Iloloi on 13 November. This is well 
above the 225 m altitudinal limit for the species on 
Sulawesi (Coates and Bishop 1997). 

Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx fallax. A single bird 
seen in secondary forest at Lake Iloloi on 13 November. 

Scaly Kingfisher Actenoides princeps. Birds of the 
nominate subspecies endemic to NE Sulawesi (White 
and Bruce 1986) were recorded in primary forest 
between 1,050 m and 1,550 m at Singsingon. A female 
was observed eating a small lizard on 18 November. A 
female bird was mist-netted at 1,400 m on 17 November 
(weight 105 g, wing 117 mm, tail 91 mm). 

Purple-bearded Bee-eater Meropogon forsteni. 
Uncommon at Singsingon in more open areas of the 
forest - tree falls, open areas created by logging, and at 
the forest edge. On 1 1 November a nest hole was 
discovered which was attended by a single adult bee- 
eater. The burrow was located c. 30 cm from the ground 
in a low earth bank at the side of a footpath in primary 
forest at 1,475 m.The burrow ran horizontally c. 50 cm 
into the bank before opening out into the nest chamber 
that contained two young, estimated to be 10-15 days 
old. Invertebrate remains outside the nest hole include 
moths, butterflies, bees and - predominantly - beetles. 

Black-billed Koel Eudynamys melanorhyncha. Very 
common in all habitats up to 1,250 m. 

Yellow-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus calyorhynchus. 
Common at both sites. 

Bay Coucal Centropus celebensis. Only recorded at Lake 
Iloloi, up to 1,100 m, in groups of up to five birds. 

Ornate Lorikeet Trichoglossus ornatus.'Very common at 
Singsingon in flocks of up to 15 birds in forest edge and 
agricultural habitats. Less common at Lake Iloloi. 

Yellow-and-green Lorikeet Trichoglossus flavoviridis. 
Extremely common at Singsingon in flocks of up to 25 
birds, often together with the previous species. On 25 


November a group of 25 was feeding in a Trema orientalis 
tree in secondary forest. Also recorded from the foot of 
Mt. Moyayat (Rozendaal and Dekker 1989). 

Yellow-breasted Racquet-tail Prioniturus flavicans 
(NT). Common at Lake Iloloi, but only recorded once 
at Singsingon - a single bird seen and heard in primary 
forest at 1,350 m on 16 November. This is a notable 
altitudinal range extension for the species, which is 
usually recorded to c. 1,000 m (White and Bruce 1986, 
Coates and Bishop 1997).Yellow-breasted Racquet-tail 
is endemic to the north peninsula of Sulawesi (White 
and Bruce 1986, Coates and Bishop 1997), although 
treated by Inskipp et al. (1996) as conspecific with Blue- 
crowned Racquet-tail P. discurus of the Philippines. 

Golden-mantled Racquet-tail Prioniturus platurus. 
Common at both sites to altitudes of 1,550 m. 

Sulawesi Hanging Parrot Loriculus stigmatus. 
Uncommon. A single in a clove plantation on 10 
November, two records - both of two birds - at the forest 
edge at Singsingon on 11 and 16 November, and a single 
in selectively logged forest at Lake Iloloi on 19 
November. 

Pygmy Hanging Parrot Loriculus exilis. A single bird in 
selectively logged forest at 1,000 m at Lake Iloloi on 17 
November. Pygmy Hanging Parrot has not been 
recorded above this altitude (Coates and Bishop 1997). 

Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus. One record of a flock 
of six birds at Singsingon on 13 November 1999. This 
species is either a scarce winter visitor or transient 
migrant inWallacea (Coates and Bishop 1997). 

Sulawesi Owl Tyto rosenbergii. Calls heard most nights 
at Lake Iloloi and Singsingon, but particularly common 
at the latter site. Owls were seen twice at Singsingon: a 
single in flight over potato fields, at 04h50 on 12 
November, and a single in secondary forest on 15 
November at 05hl5. 

Sulawesi Scops Owl Otus manadensis. Common, with 
birds heard calling every night in secondary habitat at 
both sites. 

Speckled Hawk Owl Ninox punctulata. A sighting at 
08h30 on 16 November in primary forest at 1,450 m. A 
single bird was flushed from the foot of a hollow tree 
trunk, flew a short distance and then perched, in full 
view, for 4-5 minutes. Also heard calling on the 10 
November and 15-16 November from selectively logged 
forest between 1,100 m and 1,300 m at Singsingon.The 
call was noted to be a series of soft whistles repeated 
approximately once every second. 

Cinnabar Hawk Owl Ninox ios (DD). A single bird was 
mist-netted at 19h00 on 14 November 1999 in primary 
forest at 1,420 m (Lee and Riley 2001.). The owl was 
caught in the lowest shelf of a mist-net set 1 m from the 
ground. 

Description: The iris was yellow, the orbital skin of 
the eye was pink. The bill was pale horn. The tarsi were 
pink with light feathering on both surfaces, although on 
the extreme lower tarsi and toes this was replaced by 
fine rufous brown bristles; the claws were dark grey with 
lighter grey bases.The crown to the mantle was uniform 
chestnut brown with the supercilium and centre of the 
forecrown, down to the bill, a slightly paler chestnut 



60 


J. RILEY & J. MOLE 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


brown. The underparts were chestnut brown with the 
feathers showing light brown and buff barring. The vent 
and belly were paler rufous brown.The upper tail surface 
was finely barred with alternating bands of dark brown 
and pale cinnamon brown. The undertail-coverts were 
pale rufous with white spots. The upperparts were 
uniform dark chestnut brown and appeared slightly 
darker than the underparts. The scapulars were rufous 
with large whitish spots with broad dark tips. On the 
upperwing, the median coverts were pale rufous brown, 
the secondary median coverts with two narrow white 
bars on the outer web, whilst the primary coverts were 
darker. The lesser upperwing-coverts were pale ochre 
brown. The remiges had the inner webs dark brown, 
becoming barred on the secondaries and, in particular, 
on the tertials with pale rufous ochre; the outer webs 
were lighter chestnut brown. Measurements: Wing +/- 
184 mm; tail 112 mm; weight 94 g. 

This recently described species (Rasmussen 1999) 
was previously only known from a single specimen 
collected in 1985 from a forested valley at 1,120 m at 
Clark’s Camp in the eastern section of Bogani Nani 
Wartabone National Park. The measurements and 
plumage of the Ambang specimen agree with those of 
the type (P. C. Rasmussen in litt. December 1999). 

Cinnabar Hawk Owl remains a very little known 
species. The two known localities are only c. 60 km apart 
and, to date, the species is not recorded from outside 
this extremely restricted range (but see Mauro, this 
issue). Clearly, further surveys are required to determine 
fully the species’s status, but such efforts are currently 
hampered by the lack of information about the species’s 
voice. We did not hear any calls at Ambang that could 
have been attributed to Cinnabar Hawk Owl. 

Stephan’s dove Chalcophaps stephani. A single bird seen 
feeding on the forest floor at 1,375 m at Singsingon on 
17 November, and a single bird flushed in secondary 
forest at 925 m at Lake Iloloi were the only records. 
Both sightings were made well above the known 
altitudinal limit of the species in Sulawesi, given as 500 
m by Coates and Bishop (1997). 

Sulawesi Ground Dove Gallicolumba tristigmata. Found 
in primary forest at both sites between 925 m and 1,525 
m, but notably common at Singsingon. 

Red-eared Fruit Dove Ptilinopus fischeri. Common in 
primary and secondary forest above 1,000 m. On 17 
November, a pair was observed constructing a nest in 
the canopy of a 10 m tall tree at 1,500 m in primary 
forest. The nest, a platform of dried twigs situated on 
an outer branch, was constructed by both birds; one 
bird collected nesting material from a nearby Trema 
orientalis tree whilst the second bird built the nest. 
Recorded at the summit of Mt. Moyayat in 1985 
(Rozendaal and Dekker 1989). 

Maroon-chinned Fruit Dove Ptilinopus subgularis. A 
single record of two birds on 10 November in selectively 
logged forest at 1,150 m above Singsingon. Recorded 
to c. 800 m on Mt. Moyayat by Rozendaal and Dekker 
(1989). Coates and Bishop (1997) give an upper 
altitudinal limit of 800 m for this species on Sulawesi. 

White-bellied Imperial Pigeon Ducula forsteni. 
Common in forested habitat at both sites. A group of 
10 birds was seen feeding on fruits of Ficus altissima on 


13 November 1999, together with Grey-headed Imperial 
Pigeon. 

Grey-headed Imperial Pigeon Ducula radiata. Recorded 
singly or in pairs in forested habitats at both sites. A 
flock of three was seen on 13 November 1999 (see 
above). 

Barred Honey-buzzard Pernis celebensis. Three records 
at Singsingon; on 13 November a single bird soaring 
over primary forest, followed by singles seen on 16 and 
17 November flying over agricultural land close to the 
forest edge. 

White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster. A single 
record of an adult flying over Lake Iloloi on 13 
November. The species is occasionally recorded well 
inland on Sulawesi (Coates and Bishop 1997). 

Sulawesi Goshawk Accipiter griseiceps. A single record 
on 14 November of an adult perched in secondary forest 
at Lake Iloloi. 

Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk Accipiter trinotatus. 
Uncommon in all forest habitats. A male seen in primary 
forest on 16 November was hunting for insects from a 
perch in a 4 m tall understorey tree. 

Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus. A single in 
agricultural land at Singsingon on 14 November. This 
species is a common winter migrant to Sulawesi from 
the east Palearctic (White and Bruce 1986). 

Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis. The most commonly 
encountered raptor at Ambang, and recorded almost 
daily at Singsingon. A group of three birds seen at 
Singsingon on 11 November included a single immature. 

Scarlet Myzomela Myzomela dibapha. Uncommon 
with just three records. A single male in primary forest 
at 1,150 m at Lake Iloloi on 13 November; a single 
female in selectively logged forest at 1,000 m at Lake 
Iloloi on 18 November; and a single male in a mixed 
species flock in primary forest at 1,475 m at Singsingon 
on 17 November. This species is treated by most authors 
as M. sanguinolenta (White and Bruce 1986, Coates and 
Bishop 1997). 

Dark-eared Myza Myza celebensis. Common at 
Singsingon in primary forest between 1,275 m and 1,575 
m. Two male birds were mist-netted on 17 November 
followed by a single on 19 November (weight 19.5-22.5 
g, wing 82-85 mm, tail 68-81 mm). 

Olive-flanked Whistler Hylocitrea bonensis. Noted 
twice in primary forest at Singsingon. A single female 
was noted at 1,400 m on 16 November, followed by a 
single male on the edge of a large mixed species flock at 
1,500 m on 17 November. 

Sulphur-bellied Whistler Pachycephala sulfuriventer. 
One of the commonest species at both sites. A single 
adult was mist-netted in primary forest at 1,475 m on 
19 November (weight 22 g, wing 85 mm, tail 69 mm). 

Cerulean Cuckooshrike Coracina temrninckii. Common 
at both sites. 

Sulawesi Cicadabird Coracina morio. Common at both 
sites; also observed on Mt. Moyayat in 1985 (Rozendaal 
and Dekker 1989). 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


Birds of Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve, Indonesia 


61 


Rusty-bellied Fantail Rhipidura teysmanni. Common 
at Singsingon in primary and selectively logged forest 
above 1,275 m. An adult bird was mist-netted in primary 
forest at 1,400 m on 17 November (weight 10 g, wing 
69 mm, tail 80 mm). 

Sulawesi Drongo Dicrurus montanus. Common but 
recorded only at Singsingon between 1,150m and 1,525 
m. Observed at the summit of Mt. Moyayat in 1985 
(Rozendaal and Dekker 1989). 

Grey-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta. Two 
records, a single in forest edge scrub at Singsingon on 
11 November, and a single at Mokobang village on 19 
November. 

Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra. The 
subspecies annalisa , endemic to north Sulawesi (White 
and Bruce 1986), was common in primary forest above 
1,175 m at Singsingon. A male and female were mist- 
netted in primary forest at 1,400 m on 17 November 
(male: weight 9 g, wing 60 mm, tail 31 mm; female: 
weight 9.5 g, wing 58 mm, tail 40 mm). 

Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni. Common 
at Singsingon. A pair was seen feeding young on 11 
November. An immature male seen on the same date 
had broad brown fringes to the feathers of the back, 
mantle and nape. 

Matinan Flycatcher Cyornis sanfordi (VU). The 
previous record from the reserve was made by Rozendaal 
and Dekker (1989), who mist-netted a single bird on 
Mt. Moyayat in 1985.We recorded Matinan Flycatcher 
in primary hill forest between 1,450 m and 1,500 m on 
three occasions between 17 and 19 November 1999. 
The first observation, on 17 November, was of two birds 
on the edge of a large mixed flock with ten other species 
including Sulphur-belliedWhistler, Malia, Sulawesi Leaf 
Warbler and Sulawesi Drongo. There were two 
observations on 19 November: the first of a single bird, 
followed by a loose group of three birds seen c. 400 m 
away. 

A nest site was located at 1,300 m in selectively 
logged hill forest with dense undergrowth, within 400 
m of agricultural land. Over a period of four days 
between 15 and 19 November, a single bird was 
observed repeatedly entering a cavity in the trunk of a 
dead tree. It was not possible to examine the nest cavity 
which was some 3 m from the ground. 

Matinan Flycatchers are robust birds with generally 
ponderous movements. Flycatchers will sit motionless 
for long periods, surveying the foliage with careful, 
deliberate twists of the head, before dashing after prey. 
This is a nondescript species with brown upperparts, 
slightly darker on the wings, and uniform ash-grey 
underparts. The only striking feature is the buff-ochre 
vent. The eye is large and appears black in the field, 
whilst the bill is pink-horn with a fine tip, very broad 
base, and is surrounded by rictal bristles. 

These are the first published observations of Matinan 
Flycatcher for 15 years, and it remains a little known 
species. For example, the calls of the flycatcher remain 
undescribed (Coates and Bishop 1997), and recent field 
guides have produced inaccurate paintings. Whilst 
Matinan Flycatcher is currently regarded as a threatened 


species (BirdLife International 2000) the observation 
of a bird at a presumed nest site in disturbed habitat 
suggest that it is able to tolerate some habitat alteration. 

Sulawesi Myna Basilornis celebensis. Common at Lake 
Iloloi up to 1,150 m. 

White-necked Myna Streprocitta albicollis. Common at 
Lake Iloloi. 

Fiery-browed Myna Enodes erythrophris. Common at 
both sites, in large flocks of up to 60 birds. At Singsingon, 
birds were seen feeding in a fruiting fig in selectively 
logged forest on four consecutive days from 14 
November; up to 55 birds were present in the tree at a 
single time. Fiery-browed Myna was less frequent at 
Lake Iloloi, with most records of small flocks of 2-3 birds. 

Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica. A pair feeding two 
young at Singsingon on 10 November 1999. 

Malia Malia grata. At Singsingon the distinctive 
subspecies recondita - olive-green wings, tail olive-green 
or reddish-brown (birds at Ambang the latter) - endemic 
to north Sulawesi (White and Bruce 1986), was noted 
only in primary forest above 1,350 m. Usually 
encountered in small, noisy parties of 2-4 birds 
accompanied by Sulawesi Drongo, Rusty-bellied Fantail, 
Yellow-billed Malkoha, and Sulawesi Leaf Warbler. 
Malia were occasionally observed feeding close to 
Sulawesi Dwarf Squirrels Prosciurillus murinus and P. 
leucomus , possibly on invertebrates disturbed by them. 

Black-crowned White-eye Zosterops atrifrons. Very 
common at both sites in secondary and selectively logged 
forest. At Singsingon, three birds of the nominate 
subspecies endemic to north Sulawesi (Rasmussen et 
al. 2000) were mist-netted in secondary scrub in 
November (weight 9.5-10.5 g, wing 54.5-56 mm, tail 
42.5-44.5 mm). 

Streak-headed Darkeye Lophozosterops squamiceps. The 
subspecies L. s. stresemanni, endemic to north-east 
Sulawesi (White and Bruce 1986), was very common 
in all habitats at Singsingon. Commonly observed in 
single species flocks of 2-10 birds, but often formed 
mixed species flocks with Black-crowned White-eye, 
Grey-sided Flowerpecker, and Yellow-sided 
Flowerpecker. Three birds were mist-netted: two birds 
in primary forest at 1,425 m on 14 November and a 
single bird in secondary scrub at 1,250 m on 16 
November (weight 14-15 g, wing 60 mm, tail 43-46 
mm). 

Chestnut-backed Bush Warbler Bradypterus castaneus. 
Very common at Singsingon; also common below the 
summit ofMt. Moyayat in 1985 (Rozendaal and Dekker 
1989). 

Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus. Common 
in all habitats and also recorded by Rozendaal and 
Dekker (1989) on Mt. Moyayat. A single bird was mist- 
netted in secondary scrub at Singsingon on 16 
November (weight 7.5 g, wing 45 mm, tail 46 mm). 

Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis. Two records from 
Lake Iloloi: two birds on 15 November in selectively 
logged forest at 1,050 m, and a single in primary forest 
at 1,250 m on 16 November. 



62 


J. RILEY & J. MOLE 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Sulawesi Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus sarasinorum. 
Extremely common at Singsingon in all forested habitats. 
A single bird was mist-netted in primary forest at 1,400 
m on 17 November (weight 10 g, wing 59 mm, tail 36 
mm). 

Sulawesi Babbler Trichastoma celebense. Very common 
in all habitats. 

Yellow-sided Flowerpecker Dicaeum aureolimbatum. 
Common at both sites and recorded up to 1,375 m at 
Singsingon. The upper altitudinal limit on Sulawesi is 
given as 1,140 m (Coates and Bishop 1997). 

Crimson-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum nehrkorni. 
Uncommon at both survey sites. 

Grey-sided Flowerpecker Dicaeum celebicum. Common 
up to 1,250 m at both sites. Coates and Bishop (1997) 
stated that Grey-sided Flowerpecker is recorded up to 
1,000 m on Sulawesi. 

Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis. 
Uncommon in secondary habitats above Singsingon to 
1,100 m, a slight altitudinal range extension above the 
c. 1,000 m given by Coates and Bishop (1997). 

Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia. Uncommon in 
secondary habitats above Singsingon to 1,150 m, a 
significant altitudinal range extension above the 800 m 
given by Coates and Bishop (1997). 

Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis. Common in 
secondary habitats above Singsingon to 1,200 m, a 
significant altitudinal range extension above the 800 m 
given by Coates and Bishop (1997). 

Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi. Seen twice on 1 1 
November at Singsingon; a single in ploughed fields and 
a single in secondary scrub at the forest edge. An under¬ 
recorded species in Sulawesi (Coates and Bishop 1997). 

Black-faced Munia Lonchura molucca. Uncommon in 
agricultural land around Singsingon village to 1,150m, 
a slight altitudinal range extension above the c. 1,000 
m limit given by Coates and Bishop (1997). 

Black-headed munia Lonchura malacca. Uncommon in 
agricultural land around Singsingon village to 1,150m. 
This is a significant altitudinal range extension above 
the 800 m limit given by Coates and Bishop (1997). 


DISCUSSION 

The results of our survey show that Gunung Ambang is 
a small but extremely important reserve. Whilst the total 
number of species recorded (113) is lower than at the 
adjacent Bogani-Nam Wartabone National Park (195) 
(Rozendaal and Dekker 1989, Lee et al. in prep), this 
difference can in part be attributed to the number (23) 
of waterbirds (herons, waders and ducks) recorded from 
the national park. A further contributing factor is the 
paucity of ornithological research at Ambang. 

Of particular significance is the presence of two 
threatened species currently only known from the north 
peninsula of Sulawesi - Matinan Flycatcher and 
Cinnabar Hawk Owl (but, again, see Mauro, this issue), 
and a third threatened species endemic to Sulawesi - 


Maleo.The first two species remain little known across 
their restricted ranges, whilst Maleo is increasingly 
threatened throughout Sulawesi (BirdLife International 
2000 ). 

The small size of the Gunung Ambang reserve 
accentuates land-use pressures also felt in the much 
larger national park. The most immediate threat to the 
reserve’s integrity is habitat loss and forest degradation. 
Ambang is fringed by a large human population and 
access to the reserve and its hinterlands is made easy by 
a good road system, one road cutting through the centre 
of the park. This has led to much of the land abutting 
the reserve being converted to agricultural production. 
However, the reserve’s boundaries are largely 
acknowledged by local people (despite it being 
unmarked) and farmers around Singsingon have cleared 
land to the boundary but not, at present, beyond. This 
results in the flatter terrain around the village being used 
for agriculture whilst the steep slopes within the reserve 
still retain some forest cover. It seems unlikely that this 
status quo will persist for much longer and in recent years 
protected forest along the Kotamobagu-Singsingon road 
has been cleared for farming (KSDA verbally November 
1999). 

Large areas within the reserve have already been 
affected by non-commercial selective logging. Currently 
these activities are restricted largely to the flatter, more 
accessible areas of the reserve, but some logging was 
noted in the remote central forests and on steep slopes. 
Undoubtedly much timber is used locally, demand 
encouraged by the presence of a large number of 
‘traditional’ workshops making wooden houses in 
Mokobang village. 

Whilst such degraded habitat can still support many 
bird species, for example Matinan Flycatcher, the 
removal of large trees encourages farmers to clear the 
remaining vegetation and plant crops, a process already 
taking place outside the reserve at Singsingon. Once 
forest cover is lost, forest specialists can no longer persist 
and are replaced by ecological generalists such as 
flowerpeckers, white-eyes and sunbirds. 

Hunting is a third major pressure at Gunung 
Ambang. The larger mammal species are favoured prey 
of local hunters - for example Sulawesi pig Sus celebensis, 
anoa Bubalus sp., Sulawesi dwarf cuscus Stigocuscus 
celebensis and crested black macaque - but as these 
populations dwindle small mammals are increasingly 
trapped using trip-wire snares. Whilst they are set 
primarily to catch forest rats and squirrels, the traps 
also kill birds and we noted the remains of Malia and 
Sulawesi Ground Dove. Given the intensity of trapping 
- snares set every 10 m for 200 m in some locations - 
the overall pressure on animal populations must be great. 

A contributory factor to all these pressures is the 
weak management of the reserve. Whilst nominally 
under the control of the National Park office in 
Kotamobagu, there is little evidence of field activities 
by reserve guards, who are poorly equipped, 
unsupervised, and largely untrained and unmotivated. 
With the huge Bogani-Nani Wartabone National Park 
to supervise it is perhaps not surprising that Ambang is, 
to some extent, ignored; reserve guards in Singsingon 
noted it was over two years since any patrols or 
monitoring were conducted inside the reserve. 
Institutional weaknesses are also highlighted by the 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


Birds of Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve, Indonesia 


63 


confusion over the status of the 25,000 ha extension 
area north of the nature reserve. This land is variously 
described as a potential protected area or as production 
forest (i.e. ear-marked for timber extraction).Weaknesses 
in the management of protected areas have been 
identified as major problems facing conservation efforts 
throughout Indonesia (Wells et al. 1999). 

In conclusion, the Gunung Ambang reserve protects 
an important watershed and supports a high diversity 
of bird species, including a number of threatened 
endemics. The reserve is small and faces a number of 
pressures, above all habitat alteration, which threaten 
both the reserve’s future and those of its animal 
populations. To ensure the integrity of the reserve these 
problems must be addressed. Clarification of the current 
status of the extension area to the north, ideally followed 
by its designation as a protected area, would make a 
valuable addition to the protected area network in the 
province. Whether or not this status change is carried 
out, there is a clear need for an increase in patrolling 
and monitoring of the existing reserve by park 
authorities, intensive training of park guards, and an 
extensive community awareness and education 
programme to familiarize local people with the function 
of the reserve and its boundaries. 


We wish to thank the Sub-Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam 
(KSDA) for granting permission to work in Gunung Ambang Na¬ 
ture Reserve, andYulius Domingus (KSDA Singsingon) for his great 
kindness and help. Many thanks to Yusman Hunowu, Michael 
Wangko, Meyner Nusalawo, FeliksTanglamm, Iwan Hunowu, Edies 
Maneasa, Raymond Bororing, Yoppy Manderos and Rob Lee for 
assisting with data collection. Renee Manoppo helped to prepare 
the maps. Jim Wardill and Rob Lee commented on an earlier version 
of this manuscript. This work was supported by the Natural Re¬ 
sources Management Program (NRM/EPIQ), a program supported 
by USAID, Margot Marsh Biodiversity Conservation Fund, and the 
Wildlife Conservation Society. 


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KSDA (1998) Informasi kawasan konservasi dipropinsi Sulawesi Utara. 
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Lee, R. J. (1998) A report on biological surveys at Gunung Ambang 
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Lee, R. J. (1999) Impact of subsistence hunting in North Sulawesi, 
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Lee, R. J., O’Brien,T. G., Kinnaird, M. F. and Dwiyahreni, A. (1999) 
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Rodenberg, W. F. and Palete R. (1981) Proposed Dumoga-Bone 
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Stattersfield, A.J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. and Wege, D. C. (1998) 
Endemic Bird Areas of the world: priorities for biodiversity conserva¬ 
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Sugardjito, J., Southwick, C. H., Supriatna, J., Kohlhaas, A., Baker, 
S., Erwin, J., Froelich, J. and Lerche, N. (1989) Population sur¬ 
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Wells, M., Guggenheim, S., Khan, A., Wardojo, W. and Jepson, P. 
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White, C. M. N. and Bruce, M. D. (1986) The birds ofWallacea 
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Utara, Indonesia; email: wcsstaff@manado. wasantara. net. id. 




64 


J. RILEY & J. MOLE 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Appendix Checklist of birds recorded at Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve 



Habitat 

Altitudinal 
range (m) 

Status 

Maleo Macrocephalon maleo 

(VU) 

P 

1375 

E 

Blue-breasted Quail Coturnix chinensis 




Holmes 1990 

Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus 


Slf 

950 


Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos temminckii 


S, Slf, P 

825-1375 

E 

Ashy Woodpecker Mulleripicus fulvus 


s 

825-950 

E 

Sulawesi Hornbill Penelopides exarhatus 


s 

825-1000 

E 

Knobbed Hornbill Aceros cassidix 


S,p 

800-1 125 

E 

Purple-winged Roller Coracias temminckii 


s 

1000 

E 

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 


L 

800 


Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyxfallax 


s 

825 

E 

Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus Moris 


A 

800-1350 


Scaly Kingfisher Actenoides princeps 


P 

1050-1550 

E 

Purple-bearded Bee-eater Meropogon forsteni 


Slf, P 

1300-1400 

E 

Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 


p 

1250-1325 


Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis 


p 

1350-1525 


Black-billed Koel Eudynamys melanorhyncha 


A, S, Slf 

850-1250 

E 

Yellow-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus calyorhynchus 


A, S, Slf, P 

800-1500 

E 

Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis 


A, S 

800-1250 


Bay Coucal Centropus celebensis 


S, Slf, P 

850-1100 

E 

Ornate Lorikeet Trichoglossus ornatus 


A, S 

800-1250 

E 

Yellow-and-green Lorikeet Trichoglossus flavoviridis 


A, S, Slf 

1000-1250 

E 

Yellow-breasted Racquet-tail Prioniturusflavicans 

(NT) 

s,p 

850-1350 

E 

Golden-mantled Racquet-tail Prioniturus platurus 


A, S, P 

850-1450 


Azure-rumped parrot Tanygnathus sumatranus 


S 

850-1000 


Sulawesi Hanging Parrot Loriculus stigmatus 


A, S, Slf 

850-1200 

E 

Pygmy Hanging Parrot Loriculus exilis 


S 

1000 

E 

Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta 


A, S, Slf, P 

800-1450 


Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus 


A 

1200 

M 

Grey-rumped Tree-swift Hemiprocne longipennis 


A, S, Slf 

800-1200 


Sulawesi Owl Tyto rosenbergii 


A, S 

1000-1300 

E 

Sulawesi Scops Owl Otus manadensis 


A, S 

800-1250 

E 

Ochre-bellied Hawk Owl Ninox ochracea 




Rodenburg & Palete 1981 

Speckled Hawk Owl Ninox punctulata 


Slf, P 

1250-1450 

E 

Cinnabar Hawk Owl Ninox ios 

(DD) 

P 

1480 

E 

Great Eared Nightjar Eurostopodus macrotis 


A 

800-1100 


Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 


A 

825-1250 


Brown Cuckoo Dove Macropygia amboinensis 


S, Slf, P 

925-1500 


Stephan’s Dove Chalcophaps stephani 


S, P 

925-1375 


Sulawesi Ground Dove Gallicolumba tristigmata 


S, P 

925-1525 

E 

Red-eared Fruit Dove Ptilinopus fischeri 


S, P 

1000-1760 

E 

Maroon-chinned Fruit Dove Ptilinopus subgularis 


Slf 

1050-1150 

E 

Superb Fruit Dove Ptilinopus superbus 


S, Slf, P 

825-1425 


Black-naped Fruit Dove Ptilinopus melanospila 


A, S, Slf, P 

825-1350 


White-bellied Imperial Pigeon Ducula forsteni 


S, Slf, P 

925-1350 

E 

Grey-headed Imperial Pigeon Ducula radiata 


S, Slf, P 

1000-1500 

E 

Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 


S, Slf, P 

800-950 


Sombre Pigeon Cryptophaps poecilorrhoa 

(NT) 

p 

1760 

E Rozendaal & Dekker 1989 

Barred Rail Gallirallus torquatus 


A, S, L 

800-1200 


Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis 


A, S 

1000-1200 


Isabelline Bush Hen Amaurornis isabellinus 


A, S 

1000-1100 

E 

White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus 


L 

800 


White-browed Crake Porzana cinerea 


L 

800 


Barred Honey-buzzard Pernis celebensis 


A 

1000-1200 


























































Forktail 17 (2001) 


Birds of Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve, Indonesia 


65 





Habitat 

Altitudinal 
range (m) 

Status 

Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus 


A, S, Slf, P 

800-1600 


White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster 


L 

800 


Sulawesi Goshawk Accipiter griseiceps 


S 

925 

E 

Spot-tailed SpARROWHAWK/lccipiier trinotatus 


S, Slf 

1000-1275 

E 

Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus 


A 

1050 

M 

Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis 


A, S, Slf, P 

1000-1600 


Spotted Kestrel Falco moluccensis 


A 

1000-1100 


Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 




Rodenburg & Palete 1981 

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 


A, L 

800-1100 


Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa 


A, L 

800-1100 


Scarlet Myzomela Myzomela dibapha 


Slf, P 

1000-1760 


Dark-eared Myza Myza celebensis 


Slf, P 

1275-1760 

E 

Golden-bellied Gerygone Gary gone sulphurea 


A, S 

1000-1250 


Olive-flanked Whistler Hylocitrea bonensis 


P 

1400-1500 

E 

Sulphur-bellied Whistler Pachycephala sulfuriventer 


S, Slf, P 

925-1760 

E 

Slender-billed Crow Corvus enca 


A 

800-1200 


White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus 


A, S, Slf 

800-1250 


Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis 


S, Slf, P 

925-975 


Cerulean Cuckooshrike Coracina temminckii 


Slf, P 

925-1425 

E 

Sulawesi Cicadabird Coracina morio 


S,Slf, P 

825-1760 

E 

Rusty-bellied Fantail Rhipidura teysmanni 


Slf, P 

1275-1760 

E 

Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus 


S, Slf, P 

850-1150 


Sulawesi Drongo Dicrurus montanus 


Slf, P 

1150-1760 

E 

Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea 


S, Slf, P 

825-1150 


Grey-streaked flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta 


A, Slf 

850-1250 

M 

Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra 


Slf, P 

1175-1540 


Rufous-throated Flycatcher Ficedula rufigula 

(NT) 



E Rodenburg & Palete 1981 

Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni 


S, Slf, P 

1250-1350 


Island Flycatcher Eumyias panayensis 


S, Slf, P 

1250-1475 


Matinan Flycatcher Cyornis sanfordi 

(VU) 

Slf, P 

1300-1760 

E 

Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra 


S, Slf, P 

850-1300 


Citrine Canary Flycatcher Culicicapa helianthea 


S, Slf, P 

825-1500 


Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis 


A, S, Slf 

825-1150 


Sulawesi Myna Basilornis celebensis 


S, P 

825-1150 

E 

White-neciced Myna Streptocitta albicollis 


s, P 

825-1075 

E 

Fiery-browed Myna Enodes erythrophris 


A, S, Slf, P 

825-1760 

E 

Barn Swallow Flirundo rustica 


A, S 

800-1300 

M 

Pacific Swallow Flirundo tahitica 


A, S, Slf, P 

800-1450 


Malia Mali a grata 


P 

1350-1540 

E 

Mountain White-eye Zosterops montanus 


A, S, Slf, P 

1200-1500 


Black-crowned White-eye Zosterops atrifrons 


A, S, Slf, P 

850-1325 

E 

Streak-headed Darkeye Lophozosterops squamiceps 


A, S, Slf, P 

1250-1760 

E 

Chestnut-backed Bush Warbler Bradypterus castaneus 


S, Slf, P 

1250-1700 


Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus 


A, S, Slf, P 

1200-1540 


Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis 


Slf, P 

1050-1250 

M 

Sulawesi Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus sarasinorum 


Slf, P 

1275-1525 

E 

Sulawesi Babbler Trichastoma celebense 


A, S, Slf, P 

825-1450 

E 

Yellow-sided Flowerpecker Dicaeum aureolimbatum 


A, S, Slf, P 

825-1375 

E 

Crimson-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum nehrkorni 


S, Slf, P 

825-1525 

E 

Grey-sided Flowerpecker Dicaeum celebicum 


A, S 

800-1250 

E 

Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis 


A, S 

800-1100 


Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia 


A, S, P 

800-1150 


Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis 


A 

1000-1200 


Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 


A 

1000-1100 






















































































66 


J. RILEY & J. MOLE 


Forktail 17 (2001) 



Habitat 

Altitudinal 
range (m) 

Status 

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 

L, A 

800-1150 

M 

Grey Wagtail Mora cilia cm ere a 

A 

1000-1150 

M 

Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi 

A 

1000-1150 

M 

Black-faced Munia Lonchura molucca 

A 

1000-1150 


Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacca 

A 

800-1150 



KEY 


Threat category 

Status 


VU 

= 

Vulnerable 

E 

= endemic to Sulawesi 

DD 

= 

Data Deficient 

M 

= migrant species 

NT 

= 

Near-threatened 

Reference 

= details where record published if species not 





recorded by WCS 

Habitat 





L 

= 

Lake Iloloi and surrounding marshy areas 



A 

= 

Agricultural lands 



S 

= 

Secondary forest 



Slf 

= 

Selectively logged forest 



P 

= 

Primary forest 












FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 67-73 


New records of birds from the Maldives, 
with notes on other species 

R. CHARLES ANDERSON and MICHAEL BALDOCK 


Twelve species of bird were recorded from the Maldives for the first time: Lesser Whistling-duck 
Dendrocygna javanica, Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus , Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 
Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus, Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus , Jouanin’s Petrel Bulweria 
fallax, Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas , Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma monorhis, 
Leach’s Storm-petrel O. leucorhoa, Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach , Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo 
daurica and Streak-throated Swallow H. fluvicola. In addition, published records of Common 
Kingfisher A/cedo atthis , Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri, Whiskered Tern Chlidonias 
hybridus, Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus and Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus were 
not included in the 1994 checklist of birds (J. S. Ash and A. Shafeeg, The birds of the Maldives. 
Forktail 10: 1-31). This raises the total number of bird species recorded from the islands to 167. 
Unusual records of other species, and recent bird conservation measures in the Maldives, are 
noted. 


INTRODUCTION 

The birds of the Maldives were recently reviewed by 
Ash and Shafeeg (1994).They listed 150 species, with a 
further ten species listed as unconfirmed. Five other 
species have been recorded from the Maldives, but were 
not included in the review of Ash and Shafeeg (1994). 
The background to Maldivian ornithology is described 
by Phillips and Sims (1958), Phillips (1963), Strickland 
and Jenner (1978) and Ash and Shafeeg (1994).There 
is therefore no need to repeat it here, beyond mentioning 
two minor reports of birds (by non-specialists) 
overlooked by previous reviewers. 

Fosberg (1957) spent three days in the Maldives in 
April 1956, when he visited Male and two nearby 
uninhabited islands, Kuda Bandos and Furana. His 
interest was mainly botanical, and the only birds he 
noted were crows and ‘two individuals of a kind of large 
heron’ on Male, a small sandpiper on Kuda Bandos, 
and crows and a flock of unidentified ‘white terns’ on 
Furana. The species he saw were probably the House 
Crow Corvus splendens maledivicus , Grey Heron Ardea 
cinerea , Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and Black- 
napedTern Sterna sumatrana. 

Webb (1988) provided a wide-ranging general 
account of the Maldives. He listed 18 species of bird by 
name, including what appears to be the first record of 
the Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri. In addition, 
he provided photos of eight common species. These 
included the Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii in the 
background of his photo of flying herons (Webb 1988: 
71); the bird labelled a ‘Maldivian Pond Heron’ in his 
photo on page 72 is actually a Little Heron Butorides 
striatus. 

Since the publication of Ash and Shafeeg’s (1994) 
review, relatively little has been published on Maldivian 
birds. There have been some local reports on seabirds, 
emphasizing their importance to the local tuna fishery 
and the need for their conservation (Adam 1994, 
Anderson 1996, Bluepeace 1996, Rasheed 1999). The 
presence of seabirds enables local fishermen to locate 


tuna schools, and is essential for the successful operation 
of the fishery. In addition, a book on Maldivian seabirds 
by Ahmed Shafeeg (1993), which was available to Ash 
and Ali Shafeeg (1994) only in manuscript form, has 
been published. (Ali Shafeeg is the son of Ahmed 
Shafeeg.) 

Finally, a summary checklist of the birds of the 
Maidive Islands was privately printed by Lamsfuss 
(1998). It included two first records: Common 
Kingfisher Alcedo atthis and Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus 
indicus. It also included two other species (Red-tailed 
Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda and Western Reef Egret 
Egretta gularis ) previously unrecorded from the Maldives. 
These records were based on sightings at sea, but the 
sightings were outside the current Maldivian Exclusive 
Economic Zone, and so these species will be listed as 
‘potential visitors’ in future printings of the checklist 
(G. Lamsfuss in litt. May 2001). 

The aims of this report are to document several first 
records of birds from the Maldives; to present new 
information on other species already known from the 
Maldives; and to note recent conservation developments. 
RCA has been resident in Maldives since 1983. MB 
has visited the Maldives three times, travelling to the 
northern atolls in February 1999 and April 2001, and 
to the southern atolls in March 2000. Species marked 
with a single asterisk (*) are first records for the Maldives; 
those marked with a double asterisk (**) have been 
previously reported but were not recorded by Ash and 
Shafeeg (1994). For details of atoll abbreviations used 
here, and a map, see Ash and Shafeeg (1994). 

RESULTS 

* Lesser Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica 
One captive individual was photographed on V. Felidhoo 
in June 2000 by RCA and Samee Mohamed Rasheed. 
It was reported to have been caught on the island’s 
lagoon in April 2000. It is presumed to have been a 
vagrant. 


68 


R. C. ANDERSON & M. BALDOCK 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Garganey Anas querquedula 

Flocks of about 12 birds were recorded on 4 April 1999 
(by RCA) and on 11 March 2000 (by RCA and MB) 
on the saltwater lake at the north end of S. Hithadhoo. 
A winter visitor not previously recorded later than 
January (Ash and Shafeeg 1994). 

**Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 
Lamsfuss (1998) recorded this species from the 
Maldives, but without giving details. His record was 
based on a definite sighting from K. Meerufenfushi in 
November 1996 by M. J. and J. R Pointon (G. Lamsfuss 
in lirt. April 2001). Prior to this, Moutou (1985; Ash 
and Shafeeg 1994) noted a kingfisher at K. Lhosfushi 
in January 1984, which he regarded as being possibly of 
this species. Another Common Kingfisher was seen and 
video-taped at the brackish water lagoon of Sh. 
Medukumburudhoo on 7 and 8 January 1999, by RCA, 
Hussein Zahir and Ibrahim Naeem. Its ear-coverts were 
orange, and the crown and upper wings were more blue 
than greenish-blue, suggesting that this individual was 
of the subspecies A. a. taprobana from southern India 
and Sri Lanka (Ali and Ripley 1987). A further 
individual, reported to be of this species, but not seen 
by the authors, was captured at K. Hulhule in January 
1998 (Hussein Zahir, Marine Research Centre, verbally, 
January 1999). With all sightings to date being in 
November or January, it seems likely that this species is 
an uncommon northern winter visitor. 

**Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri 
Ash and Shafeeg (1994) noted that many reports from 
over the years of unidentified parakeets suggested that 
either there was a small resident population in the 
Maldives or that immigrants were occurring.They were 
unable to confirm the species involved beyond noting 
that one escaped Rose-ringed Parakeet had been 
captured and photographed in Male Atoll in 1981. 
However, the presence of the Rose-ringed Parakeet on 
Male had been noted by Webb (1988). Grimmett et al. 
(1998) recorded Rose-ringed Parakeet as introduced to 
the Maldives. A small population of Rose-ringed 
Parakeets has indeed been resident on Male since at 
least 1984 (RCA pers. obs.), and probably for several 
years before that (Ahmed Hafiz, Marine Research 
Centre, verbally December 1999).This population was 
almost certainly not established as far back as 1956- 
1957. It was not noted by Fosberg (1957), and, more 
convincingly, it would have been most unlikely to have 
escaped the notice of W. W. A. Phillips during his stay in 
Male. Indeed, Phillips mentioned that ‘parakeets are 
unknown to the islanders’ (Phillips and Sims 1958: 213). 
Several other species of parrots have been observed in 
the Maldives in recent years (mostly near Male and the 
tourist resorts); they are believed to be escapees and are 
not thought to have established viable populations (see 
Discussion). 

*Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus 
One individual was seen flying low over Male, on 25 
November 1995, by RCA. It was dark brown with a 
white rump, and appeared as large or larger than a 
Common Swift Apus apus. 


Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 
A minimum of two and a maximum of four individuals 
were seen at the saltwater lake at the north end of S. 
Hithadhoo by both authors on 11 March 2000. Single 
individuals were seen by RCA at the same site on both 
25 and 30 May 2000. It was previously known in the 
Maldives only from Fuvah Mulaku Atoll (Ash and 
Shafeeg 1994, Rasheed 1999). 

*Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus 
One individual in non-breeding plumage was seen on 
the beach of Lh.Veyvah on 17 February 1999 by RCA, 
MB and Ian Rowlands. Its legs were bright orange-red, 
the bill was straight, and it had no white wing patches; 
it gave a characteristic chew-it call. 

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 
A flock of 10-12 birds was seen at the saltwater lake at 
the north end of S. Hithadhoo by both authors on 11 
March 2000. A single individual was seen by RCA at 
the same site on 22 May 2000. It had previously been 
recorded in the Maldives only in September and October 
(Strickland and Jenner 1978, Ash and Shafeeg 1994). 

Sanderling Calidris alba 

We have records from G. A. Hithaadhoo (one individual, 
15 March 2000, by RCA and MB), Lh.Veyvah (three 
individuals, 17 and 18 February 1999, by RCA and MB) 
and Lh. Veligandu, a sandbank south-west of Lh. 
Kuredhoo (one, 30 March 2000, by RCA). It had 
previously been recorded only from S. Gan (Ash and 
Shafeeg 1994). 

Little Stint Calidris minuta 

A flock of 10-12 birds was seen by RCA and MB at the 
lake at the north end of S. Hithadhoo on 11 March 
2000. It had previously been recorded only from 
November to January (Ash and Shafeeg 1994). 

Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii 
One individual was seen on 30 May 2000 by RCA at 
the lake at the north end of S. Hithadhoo. Phillips (1963) 
noted a single Temminck’s Stint on Addu Atoll on 26 
May 1958, which he considered to be a possible non¬ 
breeding loiterer. However, these late birds may well 
have been passage migrants (Ash and Shafeeg 1994). 

* Red-necked/Red Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus/fulicaria 
One individual was seen by RCA, MB and Ian Rowlands 
on 21 February 1999, to the north of Haa Alifu Atoll at 
07°21'N 72°49'E. It was a pale grey phalarope (appearing 
white from a distance), in non-breeding plumage with 
distinct white wing-bars and a shortish bill. It was 
probably a Red-necked Phalarope but specific 
identification was not confirmed, so it is possible that it 
was a Red Phalarope.The latter is a vagrant to the Indian 
region, while the Red-necked Phalarope is a regular 
winter visitor in large numbers to the northern Arabian 
Sea (Ali and Ripley 1987, Grimmett et al. 1998). Two 
Red-necked Phalaropes were reported to the Royal 
Naval Bird Watching Society bv D.M. Neale (who had 
seen thousands off Arabia) from 09°40’N 76°03'E (i.e 
off Lakshadweep, some 270 nautical miles NE of our 
Maldivian sighting) on 12 May 1958 (W. R. P. Bourne, 
in litt. July 2000). 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


New records of birds from the Maldives, with notes on other species 


69 


Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 
A single individual was seen on 1 1 March 2000 by RCA 
and MB at the lake at the north end of S. Hithadhoo. 
There have been only five previous records from the 
Maldives (Ash and Shafeeg 1994). 

Crab-plover Dromas ardeola 

A single individual was seen on 22 February 1999 by 
RCA, MB and Ian Rowlands on H. A. Medhafushi. It 
had not previously been recorded in February (Ash and 
Shafeeg 1994). 

Brown Skua Catharacta antarctica 
Ash and Shafeeg (1994) lumped all records of Catharacta 
skuas under one heading. Following Olsen and Larsson 
(1997) and Grimmett etal. (1998) we split the Maldivian 
records between this and the following species. We also 
note one additional record of the Brown Skua: a captive 
bird seen by both RCA and MB on Lh. Naifaru in 
February 1999. 

South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki 
See note for Brown Skua, above. 

*Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus 
Olsen and Larsson (1997: map on p. 125) include the 
far north of the Maldives within the winter range of this 
species, although this does not appear to be based on 
actual records. However, we do have several records of 
the Pomarine Jaeger from the Maldives: 

1) One was seen on 21 February 1999 by RCA and Ian 
Rowlands, just north of H. A. Kelaa at 07°00'N 
73°10'E. It was a large, stocky jaeger; brown above 
with dark underwings, pale undersides and a dark 
chest-bar. It was in the presence of a large flock of 
Lesser Noddies Anous tenuirostris, which were feeding 
over a tuna school. 

2) One was seen on 14 March 1999 by RCA, to the 
east of H. Dh. Kumundhoo at about 06°34'N 
73°04'E. It was a heavy-set jaeger, mostly dark brown 
with a pale upper breast. 

3) Two were seen on 8 March 2000 by RCA and MB 
in the One-and-a-half Degree Channel, at 01°19'N 
73°19'E. They were harrying Sooty Terns Sterna 
fuscata, which were feeding over a tuna school. 

4) Three were seen on 31 March 2000 seen by RCA 
near K. Kaashidhoo, at 05°03'N 73°34'E, in the 
vicinity of Brown Noddies. 

It is not clear if these records (all in February-March), 
are of birds wintering in the Arabian Sea or of birds on 
northward passage through the western Indian Ocean 
(Olsen and Larsson 1997: map on p. 125). Most of our 
at-sea sightings effort in recent years has been in 
February-April. 

Heuglin’s Gull Larus heuglini 

Ash and Shafeeg (1994) noted one record of a Lesser 
Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus and one of an adult gull 
that was either Larus fuscus fuscus or Larus argentatus 
heuglini. However, Inskipp et al. (1996: 214) noted that 
a photo of the gull recorded by Ash and Shafeeg (1994) 
as a Lesser Black-backed Gull probably referred to L. h. 
heuglini. Furthermore, Grimmett et al. (1998) noted that 
all records of Lesser Black-backed Gulls from the Indian 


region were unacceptable, and that confusion with 
Heuglin’s Gull was the most likely explanation for 
reports of the former species. The two separate records 
of Ash and Shafeeg (1994) are therefore combined under 
this single heading here. Bourne (1996) noted that 
among the gulls of this type wintering in south Asia, 
Heuglin’s Gull is commoner in the south of the region 
and out at sea. It may thus be the one most likely to 
occur in the Maldives. 

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 

Single birds in breeding plumage were recorded by RCA 

from the saltwater lake at the north end of S. Hithadhoo 

on 4 April 1999 and on 25 and 30 May 2000. It had not 

previously been recorded in May (Ash and Shafeeg 

1994). 

**Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus 
This species was recorded by Ahmed Shafeeg (1993), 
but overlooked by Ash and Shafeeg (1994). Ahmed 
Shafeeg (1993; verbally, July 2000) noted that the 
Whiskered Tern is an uncommon but regular winter 
(north-east monsoon season) visitor to the Maldives. It 
is normally seen singly. In Dhivehi it is known as 
valoadhoni (meaning soft or flaccid bird, in reference to 
its slow flight) and kagi dhooni (origins obscure). We 
recorded what appears to have been the same individual 
on every one of six separate visits to the saltwater lake 
at the north end of S. Hithadhoo, between 11 March 
and 6 June 2000. It was a marsh tern in non-breeding 
plumage; bill black, relatively short and deep; black on 
crown/nape extending to eye but not below it; pale grey 
back, rump and tail. This individual regularly perched 
on the same dead mangrove bush in the centre of the 
lake, and hunted widely over the entire lake surface. 

Lesser Noddy Anous tenuirostris 

Very large numbers (thousands) of this species were seen 
off Haa Alifu Atoll in April 1998, February 1999 and 
March 2000. Said by local residents to roost in large 
numbers on the island of Gallandhoo, and also on 
Medhafushi and Gowafushi, all in Ihavandhippolhu 
Atoll (part of Haa Alifu Atoll). This is the first report of 
what appears to be a major feeding ground for this 
species. While these birds were all assumed to have been 
A. tenuirostris , it is possible that Black Noddies Anous 
minutus were present (Bourne 1997). 

*Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus 

One individual was caught in Male during the north¬ 
east monsoon season in early 1994 (Ahmed Shafeeg 
verbally, July 2000). A second captured individual was 
photographed in Male on 13 May 1995 by RCA; it was 
reliably reported to have been caught in Male during 
the preceding north-east monsoon season (probably 
during the period December 1994 to February 1995). 
Three further captive individuals were seen in June 2000: 
one in Male was known to have been imported from 
India; the origins of the second, also on Male, could not 
be confirmed; the third was on V. Felidhoo, and was 
reported to have been imported from India. 

**Red-billedTropicbird Phaethon aethereus 

Two individuals were seen at 07°33'N 75°32'E (i.e. in 

the Eight Degree Channel north-east of Haa Alifu Atoll) 



70 


R. C. ANDERSON & M. BALDOCK 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


on 27 July 1973 by Captain P. W. G. Chilman (Bourne 
1985). Although neither seen by us nor noted by Ash 
and Shafeeg (1994), this species may be not be especially 
rare at sea in the Maldives area. DrW. R. P. Bourne {in 
litr. July 2000) has kindly provided us with information 
on six other sightings and possible sightings of Red¬ 
billed Tropicbirds in waters adjacent to the Maldives 
from the records of the Royal Naval Bird Watching 
Society: 

1) W.W. A. Phillips, 18 January 1950. Possible bird 12 
hrs west of Minicoy. 

2) C. E. Norris, 7 August 1951. One 07°56'N 74°13’E 
(Norris 1952). 

3) G. S. Willis, 5 August 1956. Two possibles 04°27'N 
75°46'E. 

4) F. W. Greaves, 27 May 1958. One 07°28'N 78°00'E. 

5) D. M. Neale, 7 July 1958. One 0°, 78°E (red bill 
mentioned). 

6) J. S. Landers, 18 August 1958. One on board 9°N 
73°E. 

Five of these seven sightings were made in July and 
August. This species may therefore occur regularly in 
Maldivian waters during the northern summer, as it does 
off the west coast of Sri Lanka (Grimmett et al. 1998). 

Little Egret Egrnta garzexta 

One individual in non-breeding plumage was seen at 
the lake at the north end of S. Hithadhoo by RCA and 
MB on 11 March 2000. There have been only eight 
previous records from the Maldives (Ash and Shafeeg 
1994). 

Great Egret Casmerodius albus 

One individual in non-breeding plumage was seen at 
the lake at the north end of S. Hithadhoo by RCA and 
MB on 11 March 2000. There have been only three 
previous records from the Maldives (Ash and Shafeeg 
1994). 

Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia 
One individual in breeding plumage was seen at the lake 
at the north end of S. Hithadhoo by RCA on three 
separate occasions between 22 May and 4 June 2000. 
Two other large egrets in non-breeding plumage were 
present at the same site on four separate occasions 
between 22 May and 6 June 2000.These were probably 
Intermediate Egrets, but the possibility that they were 
Great Egrets cannot be ruled out. There have been only 
two previous records from the Maldives (Ash and 
Shafeeg 1994). 

Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis 
We have two records, both from Hithadhoo in Addu 
Atoll. One individual was seen in flight near the lake at 
the north end of the island on 5 April 1999 by Mike 
Harris. Another individual was seen in flight near the 
freshwater lake in the centre of the island on 24 May 
2000 by RCA. With only three previous records from 
the Maldives, this species was regarded by Ash and 
Shafeeg (1994) as a rare visitor. However, all five records 
are from Addu Atoll, raising the alternative possibility 
that there is a small resident population there. 


[Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis 
We have photos of a captive individual, taken in Male 
by RCA in 1995.This bird was said to have been caught 
in the Maldives, but details could not be confirmed. 
This record is therefore not accepted. Previous 
unconfirmed records of this species were noted by Ash 
and Shafeeg (1994).] 

*Jouanin’s Petrel Bulweria fallax 
Two were seen by RCA in the One-and-a-half Degree 
Channel heading east in a westerly wind on 2 April 1999. 
They were distinguished from Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria 
bulwerii and Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus 
by size: the wingspan was slightly greater than nearby 
Audubon’s Shearwaters Puffinus Iherminieri. Another 
individual was seen by RCA, MB and JohnYoung in the 
Kaashidhoo Channel just south of Lhaviyani Atoll at 
5°1 l'N 73°30'E on 11 April 2001. It was seen at relatively 
close range as it sat on the water, before flying off to the 
Se. It was slightly larger than an Audubon’s Shearwater 
seen soon afterwards, had a substantial very dark grey 
bill, and flew with fast beats in high arcs. Two more 
birds, which were probably Jouanin’s Petrels, were seen 
by RCA in the Equatorial Channel on 3 April 1999, but 
identification was not certain. Although not previously 
recorded from the Maldives, there are several records 
from adjacent waters (Harrison 1985, van den Berg et 
al. 1991, Robertson 1994, Grimmett et al. 1998). 

^Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas 
One individual was seen by RCA, MB and Ian 
Rowlands, heading north-east off the north-east side of 
Raa Atoll, at about 05°54'N 72°59'E, on 24 February 
1999. It was a very large, long-winged shearwater; dark 
brown above, with an inconspicuous pale W across the 
upper wings; white below, with dark tips and trailing 
edges to the underwings; head pale with untidy dark 
collar. The widely repeated statement that this species 
occurs ‘as far west as the Maldives’ (Harrison 1985, van 
den Berg et al. 1991, Enticott andTipling 1997) appears 
to have originated with Bourne (1960), not Phillips and 
Sims (1958) as stated by van den Berg et al. (1991). 
However, Bourne (1960) did not report the evidence 
for this statement. 

*Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma monorhis 
Two individuals were seen on 20 February 1999, by 
MB and Ian Rowlands, north-west of H. A.Thurakunu, 
at about 07°07'N 72°44'E. They were small, all dark 
brown storm-petrels; very faint pale wing-bar, but 
without white forewing patch; tail forked. Four 
individuals were seen on 15 April 2001, by RCA, MB 
and JohnYoung, west of Haa Alifu Atoll at about 06°53'N 
72°48'E. They were small, all brown storm-petrels, 
without any obvious pale wing markings. These four 
birds appeared to be scavenging in the company of a 
feeding pod of false killer whales Pseudorca crassidens. 
Prior to these sightings, three individuals tentatively 
identified as this species were seen on 8 April 1965 at 
06°52'N 7 5°30'E, i.e. east of Haa Alifu Atoll by Bailey et 
al. (1968). Although not positively recorded from the 
Maldives before, there are several records from adjacent 
waters (Bourne 1960, Bailey et al. 1968, van den Berg et 
al. 1991, Grimmett et al. 1998). It is perhaps appropriate 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


New records of birds from the Maldives, with notes on other species 


71 


to mention here that the identification of Swinhoe’s 
Storm-petrels at sea in Maldivian waters is not 
straightforward since there are at least three possible 
confusion species: Bulwer’s Petrel, which has been 
recorded from the Maldives (Phillips 1959, Ash and 
Shafeeg 1994); Matsudaira’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma 
matsudairae, which has been recorded from adjacent 
waters (Bailey et al. 1968, Harrison 1985), and 
tentatively from the Maldives (one seen off H. A. Kelaa 
by RCA and Robert L. Pitman on 10 April 1998); and 
dark-rumped Leach’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma 
leucorhoa (Harrison 1985, Bourne and Simmons 1997). 

*Leach’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa 
One was seen off H. A. Kelaa by RCA and Robert L. 
Pitman on 11 April 1998. It had a forked tail and a 
white rump with a central dark line. It was positively 
identified by Robert Pitman, who had seen thousands 
and ringed hundreds of this species in the eastern Pacific. 
Leach’s Storm-petrel has been previously recorded from 
the western Indian Ocean (Lapthorn et al. 1970, 
Harrison 1985), but this appears to be the first record 
for the Indian region. 

Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 

One individual was observed at close range, singing in 
open grassy scrub on S. Gan, by both RCA and MB, on 
12 and 13 March 2000. It had a grey crown and the 
nape was tinged with brown; a fine white supercilium 
was not sharply demarcated from the crown; a black 
eye-stripe, extended thinly over the bill, and curved 
slightly downwards posteriorly; the throat was white, 
sharply demarcated from the orange-buff of the breast 
and flanks; the vent was white; the mantle was deep 
brown (not rufous), appearing maroon-tinged in certain 
lighting; the rump was pale buff-grey; the tail and upper 
wings were dark; the legs were dark grey or black. This 
individual appeared to be a male of the eastern race, L. 
c. lucionensis , not the nominate, L. c. cristatus, which is 
the most widespread race in the Indian subcontinent. 
L. c. lucionensis winters mainly in eastern and south¬ 
eastern Asia, but it does occur regularly in the Andaman 
and Nicobar Islands, and as far west as Sri Lanka (Ali 
and Ripley 1987, Lefranc andWorfolk 1997). 

* Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach 
A large, and conspicuously long-tailed, shrike was seen 
in a large mango tree on Male, on 17 April 1999, by 
RCA. It had russet flanks and rump, a conspicuous black 
eye-band extended round the forehead and the back 
was grey. Rufous scapulars were not noted, so this 
individual was perhaps of the race L. s. caniceps , 
apparently resident in peninsular India and Sri Lanka, 
rather than L. s. erythronotus, the partly migratory race 
further north in the subcontinent (Ali and Ripley 1987, 
Grimmett et al. 1998). 

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis 
A feral population on Male, established prior to 1939, 
died out during World War II (Ash and Shafeeg 1994). 
In late 1998 or early 1999 about a dozen Common 
Mynas were released in Male; this small population 
appeared to be thriving in May 2001. In addition, there 
are small feral populations on Bandos resort island 
(North Male Atoll) and on V. Felidhoo. We also have 


sightings of a single bird on Lh. Naifaru in February 
1999, and two birds on S. Hithadhoo in May 2000. 

*Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica 
At least two individuals were seen hawking for insects 
over the brackish water lagoon of Sh. 
Medukumburudhoo on 8 January 1999, by RCA, 
Hussein Zahir and Ibrahim Naeem.These swallows had 
pale faintly streaked, rather than chestnut, underparts. 
They were therefore not of the race H. d. hyperythra 
from Sri Lanka, but presumably winter migrants from 
further north. 

* Streak-throated Swallow Hirundo fluvicola 
One individual was seen on Lh. Naifaru by MB and Ian 
Rowlands on 18 February 1999. It had a dark back, 
dark brown head, and thin black streaks on the upper 
breast and throat; it was smaller and shorter-tailed than 
nearby Barn Swallows H. rustica. 

House Sparrow Passer domesticus 

A small feral population has been present on the north¬ 
east corner of Male since at least December 1998. Ash 
and Shafeeg (1994) stated that a small population was 
building up in the port area of Male in the early 1990s. 
However, it had disappeared by the mid-1990s (RCA, 
pers. obs.). 

**Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus 
Lamsfuss (1998) recorded this species from the Maldives 
without giving details. His record was based on a definite 
sighting from K. Meerufenfushi in November 1996 by 
M. J. and J. R Pointon (G. Lamsfuss in litt. April 2001). 
Since the Forest Wagtail is a winter visitor to SW India 
and Sri Lanka, its occurrence in the Maldives is not 
entirely unexpected. 


DISCUSSION 

Ash and Shafeeg (1994) recorded 150 species from the 
Maldives, although this was reported as 147 species as 
a result of miscounting. In addition, Ash and Shafeeg 
(1994) noted ten species for which specific identification 
was not definite, including Common Kingfisher, which 
has now been confirmed. 

Seventeen additional species of birds in the Maldives 
are reported here, 12 for the first time, plus an 
unidentified phalarope. This raises the total number of 
bird species positively known from the islands to 167. It 
seems likely that very many more species are still to be 
recorded. In particular, it is likely that northern winter 
migrants are grossly under-represented in the current 
list. This situation is in large part due to the dearth of 
observing effort, as has been noted before by Phillips 
(1963) and Ash and Shafeeg (1994). 

There is also a lack of knowledge about the local 
ecology of even the commonest species occurring in the 
Maldives. As just one example, it is remarkable that the 
regular occurrence of thousands of Lesser Noddies in 
the far north of the Maldives, on what is probably a 
feeding ground of major international importance for 
this species, has been unreported until now. 

A particular problem for ornithologists in the 
Maldives is some Maldivians’ habit of importing and 



72 


R. C. ANDERSON & M. BALDOCK 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


keeping exotic birds as pets. Ash and Shafeeg (1994) 
rightly cautioned that ‘the significance of this custom 
may not be appreciated in the assessment of records of 
unusual vagrants’ (see account for Brahminy Kite, 
above). Many imported birds subsequently escape. 
Presumed escapees observed by the senior author since 
1994 include the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua 
galerita, Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus , Bank Myna 
Acridotheres ginginianus, Red-whiskered Bulbul 
Pycnonotus jocosus, Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura 
punctulata and Java Sparrow Lonchura oryzivora. The 
importing of birds is not a new practice. The parakeets 
seen by Stanley Gardiner on Hulhule in January 1900 
(Gadow and Gardiner 1903) seem as likely to have been 
escapees from nearby Male as vagrants from Sri Lanka 
as he suggested. 

The habit of catching birds is also widespread in the 
Maldives, and has been for generations. This has 
undoubtedly contributed to the decline in numbers of 
many species in the Maldives, which is widely reported 
by fishermen, birdcatchers and others. However, other 
factors must also play a role, including increasing 
disturbance of roosting and nesting islands, and 
degradation or destruction of terrestrial habitats (Ash 
and Shafeeg 1994, Anderson 1996). In addition, 
decreases in bird populations within the Maldives are 
likely to be a reflection of more general declines in global 
populations as a result of similar problems further afield. 

In recognition of the vulnerability of bird populations 
and the importance of seabirds to the valuable tuna 
fishery, a number of conservation measures have been 
enacted in recent years. The White Tern Gygis alba, was 
protected by Public Notice 1-/96/34 of 5 June 1996, 
under the Environment Protection and Preservation Act 
(4/93). Twenty-two other bird species were protected 
by Public Notice 10C/00/24 of 11 July 1999, also under 
the Environment Protection and Preservation Act. Of 
these 22 species, 17 were seabirds: 

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 
Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis 
Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii 
Black-napedTern Sterna sumatrana 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 
Saunders’s Tern Sterna saundersi 
Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus 
Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata 
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus 
Lesser Noddy Anous tenuirostris 
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus 
Great Frigatebird Fregata minor 
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel 
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus 
Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes 
Audubon’s Shearwater Puffinus Iherminieri 

The other five species protected in July 1999 were 
‘endemic varieties’: 


Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea 

White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus 
maldivus 

Southern Maldivian Little Heron Butorides striatus 
albidulus 

Central Maldivian Little Heron Butorides striatus didii 
Maldivian Pond Heron Ardeola grayiiphillipsi 

Finally, the island of G. A. Hithaadhoo, which is of 
national significance as a roosting site for frigatebirds, 
and a nesting site of other species, was also protected 
under the Environment Protection and Preservation Act. 


For assistance in the field and other courtesies, sincere thanks to 
Susan Anderson, Lisa Ballance, Mike Harris, Ibrahim Naeem, Bob 
Pitman, Samee Mohamed Rasheed, Ian Rowlands, Abdulla Shaan, 
John Young and Hussein Zahir. RCA is particularly grateful to Mr 
Ahmed Shafeeg, the foremost Maldivian authority on birds, for fruit¬ 
ful discussions and his generous sharing of information. Especial 
thanks to Dr Bill Bourne for his critical comments, assistance with 
references and unstinting encouragement during the preparation of 
this paper. Thanks also to Dr John Ash who has been most helpful 
with many queries over many years, and to Guenter Lamsfuss for 
graciously providing unpublished data relating to records in his check¬ 
list. 


REFERENCES 

Adam, M. S. (1994) Kandumathi dhooniai masverikan [Seabirds and 
the tuna fishery], Rasain (Annual Fisheries Journal of the 
Maldivian Ministry of Fisheries Agriculture and Marine Re¬ 
sources) 14: 64-69. (In Dhivehi). 

Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D. (1987) Compact handbook of the birds of 
India and Pakistan. Second Edition. New Delhi: Oxford Univer¬ 
sity Press. 

Anderson, R. C. (1996) Seabirds and the Maldivian tuna fishery. 
Rasain 16: 134-147. 

Ash, J. S. and Shafeeg, Ali (1994) Birds of the Maidive Islands, In¬ 
dian Ocean. Forktail 10: 3-34. 

Bailey, R. S., Pocklington, R. and Willis, P. R. (1968) Storm-petrels 
Oceanodroma spp. in the Indian Ocean. Ibis 110: 27-34. 

van den Berg, A. B., Smeenk, C., Bosman, C. A. W., Haase, B. J. M., 
van der Niet, A. M., and Cadee, G. C. (1991) Barau’s Petrel 
Pterodrorna baraui, Jouanin’s Petrel Bulweria fallax and other sea¬ 
birds in the northern Indian Ocean in June-July 1984 and 1985. 
Ardea 79: 1-13. 

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FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 75-80 


Spring call counts of some Galliformes in the 

Pipar Reserve, Nepal 

RAHUL KAUL and SURESH SHAKYA 


In continuance of a long-term population monitoring project, we conducted dawn call counts in 
the Pipar Pheasant Reserve in Annapurna Conservation Area in Nepal between 28 April and 5 
May 1998. The aim of these counts is to obtain abundance indices for three Galliformes species 
in the area, for comparison with the results obtained periodically since 1979. We registered less 
calling in 1998 than in 1991 for both Satyr Tragopan Tragopan satyra and Koklass Pheasant 
Pucrasia macrolopha , but across all years these differences are not statistically significant. Thus it 
appears that these populations are stable, but additional call count points are needed to provide 
a more reliable picture of the state of Galliformes in the reserve. Opening of the reserve for the 
purposes of wildlife tourism may be beneficial for the area, providing tangible returns to local 
people, but such schemes need to be designed carefully so that irreversible damage is not done to 
the area. This can be achieved by either limiting the number of tourists allowed inside the area, 
increasing the size of the reserve to include adjoining forests of similar character, or both. 


INTRODUCTION 

Pipar Pheasant Reserve in west-central Nepal holds five 
of the eight pheasant species of Nepal (Lelliott and 
Yonzon 1980, Fleming et al. 1979). It lies in the 
Annapurna Himalaya, one of the most intensively 
trekked regions of the country. 


Pipar was ‘discovered’ in 1976 as a potential pheasant 
conservation area, and ecological studies on pheasants 
were conducted there in the late 1970s and early 1980s 
(Lelliott and Yonzon 1980, Lelliott 1981). The area was 
declared a reserve with endorsement from the World 
Pheasant Association, which then supported this pledge 
through the provision of wildlife guards, resources for 






















76 


R. KAUL & S. SHAKYA 


Forktail 17 (2001) 



Figure 2: Location of call count points in the study area. 


local schools, and periodic monitoring of pheasant 
populations (Kaul 1995, Kaul and Shakya 1998). A 
management plan was formulated for the sanctuary by 
Forester and Lelliott (1982) and a base-line habitat 
survey was conducted by Picozzi (1984). 

Since the late 1970s seven surveys have been 
conducted in Pipar by various teams (see Lelliott and 
Yonzon 1980,Tamarkar and Lelliott 1981,Yonzon 1982, 
Picozzi 1987, Howman and Garson 1993, Kaul and 
Shakya 1998). The main objective of these was to 
monitor pheasant populations in a standard fashion, 
using counting point locations originally specified by 
Lelliott (1981).The principal species of pheasants found 
there are Satyr Tragopan Tragopan satyra , Himalayan 


Monal Lophophorus impejanus, Koklass Pheasant 
Pucrasia macrolopha and Blood Pheasant Ithaginis 
cruentus. The Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii does not 
occur within the reserve but is present close by, west of 
the Kali Gandaki river. Picozzi (1987) also recorded 
the occurrence of Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola, 
Snow Partridge Lerwa lerwa, and the Himalayan 
Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis in Pipar. 

As part of this ongoing monitoring programme, we 
visited Pipar in spring 1998 to survey pheasants using 
call counts and by walking trails. We also sought to collect 
data on other Galliformes species known to occur in 
the area. Here we report on this work, compare our data 
with those collected during previous surveys and discuss 
the possible introduction of limited tourist trekking in 
the area. 


STUDY AREA AND METHODS 

The Pipar Reserve (28°25'N 83°57'E) encompasses an 
area of approximately 46 km 2 and is located on the west 
bank of the river Seti in the Annapurna Himalaya, Nepal 
(Forester and Lelliott 1982). Our study area lies in a 
depression known as the ‘Pipar bowl’ (Fig. 1) at 3,300 
m on a spur running southwards from the 
Machapuchare peak (6,990 m). 

The vegetation of the area ranges from subtropical 
near the River Seti through temperate to alpine 
grasslands (Dobremez and Jest 1971, Stainton 1972). 
Dominant trees in the canopy are Quercus lamellosa, 
Sorbus sp., Rhododendron arboreum, O. semecarpifolia, R. 
barbatum, R. campanulatum and Betula utilis. The main 
species in the undergrowth are Viburnum grandiflorum, 
Berber is asiatica and Arundinaria spp. 

There are no habitations inside the reserve, but there 
are a few small villages (principally those of Karua and 
Mirsa) located just beyond its south-eastern boundary 
near the Seti river. Signs of human impacts within the 
reserve were largely confined to the area below Siano 
Khobang, a small pastureland at about 1,500 m. Above 


(/) 

CD 


03 

c 


03 

O 


0 

-Q 

E 


D 

C 


C 

03 

0 




1979 1985 1987 1991 1998 



7.0 

(/) 

6.5 

0 




(75 

6.0 

03 


C 


*03 

5.5 

O 


* 4 — 


o 



5.0 

0 


-Q 


E 

4.5 

D 

C 


C 

4.0 

03 

0 



3.5 


3.0 



N = 7 12 15 10 9 


1979 1985 1987 1991 1998 


Surveys 

Figure 3: Mean number of calling sites of Satyr Tragopans 
heard at Pipar during different surveys from points (1-4). N 
= total number of points from where calling was heard over 
various days of a survey. 


Survey 

Figure 4: Mean number of calling sites of Koklass heard at 
Pipar during different surveys from points (1-4). N = total 
number of points from where calling was heard over various 
days of a survey. 






































Forktail 17 (2001) 


Spring call counts of some Galliformes in the Pipar Reserve, Nepal 


77 


here, the area seemed relatively undisturbed but for some 
shelters (goth) used by migratory graziers who move 
up with their flocks for the summer months (May - 
September). 

We conducted call counts for four mornings in the 
Pipar bowl (30 April - 3 May 1998) and a further two 
mornings lower down. Two methods were employed to 
obtain abundance data on Galliformes. 

a) Gaston’s (1980) call count technique involved 
positioning observers at pre-determined points across 
the Pipar bowl before dawn. These observers plotted 
the apparent position of all calling individuals by species 
on a data-recording sheet. This protocol has been used 
in many studies on Himalayan pheasants (e.g. Gaston 
and Singh 1980, Garson 1983, Duke 1990, Khaling et 
al. 1998). We took care to eliminate any double counts 
between adjacent observation points by not recording 
birds 15 minutes after the first call from a species was 
heard. This was done because individual birds appear 
to move after being stationary or confined to a small 
area for the first 15-20 minutes after waking at their 
roosts. 

We used the same observation points that were used 
in the earlier surveys in order to make our data 
comparable (Fig.2). In the previous counts at Pipar, 
observers always used Points 1-4, with Points 5 and 6 
being added during the 1985 survey. In spring 1998, 
we did not conduct any call counts at Point 3 as it was 
difficult to reach in the darkness before dawn, especially 
with an obliterated track. We also considered that it was 
within the hearing range of points 2 and 4. 

As calls of most galliform species are distinct and 
individually recognizable, observers could plot the 
location of each calling bird. Distant birds (faint calls), 
where direction and approximate location of the bird 
could not be ascertained, were not counted. Call counts 
were conducted regularly over 4 mornings in the Pipar 
Bowl and a further 2 mornings atThullo-Khobang at a 
lower altitude (2,200 m). Observers reached their 
monitoring stations at 04hl5, approximately 20-30 
minutes before the time of the first call. Dusk call counts 
were also attempted, but birds did not call consistently 
and the counts were abandoned. 

b) We also conducted systematic walks along the existing 
trails within the study area, in order to record sightings 
of galliform species. Observers walked pre-set trails 
through different habitat types. Walks were generally 
conducted after call counts between lOhOO and 13h00, 
and were timed so that rates of encounter could be 
generated for each species seen. 

We used different routes for different species, i.e. 
wooded forests for Satyr Tragopan and alpine grasslands 
for Himalayan Monal and thus spent different times in 
different habitats. 


Data analysis 

We included all counts of calling birds from points 1-4 
in the Pipar bowl for all mornings for each survey. Thus 
we obtained a mean value ± S.E. representing the 
number of callers heard from one call point across one 
survey. Such data were available for five surveys for Satyr 
Tragopan and Koklass. These data were subjected to 
one way ANOVA to test for differences in the number 
of birds of either species heard during different surveys. 
We have taken into analysis the actual number of birds 
heard from each call count point and not the corrected 
numbers (for duplications). We also conducted non- 
parametric tests (Kruskal-Wallis) to check for differences 
in calls heard from various call count points over 
successive surveys. 

We also ran a Generalized Linear Model (GLM) with 
surveys as factors and dates of survey as co-variates. 
This was done to see if the timing of the survey had any 
effect on the calling of birds since the five surveys were 
conducted on varying dates (between 19 April - 23 
May). All the statistical tests were conducted using SPSS 
7.5.' 


RESULTS 

Call counts 

Koklass Pheasant, Satyr Tragopans and Hill Partridge 
were heard calling regularly each morning in 1998. 
Himalayan Monal was also heard but its calling is 
sporadic and not amenable to counts. No Blood 
Pheasants were heard. 

A GLM conducted on calls of the two species of 
pheasants by year with dates as co-variates showed no 
significant variation in Satyr Tragopans (F= 1.103, NS), 
and Koklass Pheasants (F=0.32, NS). 

Satyr Tragopan 

The mean number of Satyr Tragopan heard calling per 
survey did not vary significantly across different surveys 
(F = 0.903, df = 4, one-way ANOVA). These means 
were associated with large standard errors (Fig. 3).When 
counts from individual points were compared with 
themselves over all five surveys, only point 3 showed 
variation across years (H = 8.89, df = 3, P < 0.05; 
Kruskal-Wallis test). 

We also conducted call counts for two mornings at a 
site lower than Pipar calledThullo Ivhobang (2,200m). 
From the two call count stations, two Satyr Tragopans 
were heard. Both calls came from above the call count 
positions, indicating that probably there were no Satyr 
Tragopans below the altitude at which the call counts 
were conducted. 


Table 1. Encounter rates of some species of Galliformes sighted in Pipar during 1998. 


Species 

No. of Individuals 

No. of Encounters 

Observer Effort 
(Party hrs) 

Encounter Rate 
(/100hrs) 

Himalayan Monal 

15 

10 

41.08 

24.3 

Satyr Tragopan 

3 

3 

29.2 

10.3 

Hill Partridge 

10 

5 

29.2 

17.1 








78 


R. KAUL & S. SHAKYA 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Koklass Pheasant 

The mean number of Koklass heard from points 1-4 
across different surveys did not vary significantly (F = 
0.706, df = 4, one-way ANOVA) (Fig. 4). However, 
Koklass calling varied significantly (H = 24.87, df = 3, 
P <0.001) between points 1-4 when data were 
considered for all surveys. From the three call count 
positions inThullo-Khobang, we heard only one Koklass 
from above. 

In Pipar, we also heard some calls of Himalayan 
Monal but the calling was brief and too irregular to allow 
any computation of their abundance. 

Trail monitoring 

Results from trail walks are presented inTable 1. A brief 
account of Galliformes seen in Pipar is presented below. 

Himalayan Monal: This pheasant was encountered 10 
times during the survey. In all, 15 birds were sighted (8 
males and 7 females), all at 3,300—4,100 m. Most 
sightings (8) occurred in grassy areas, although two 
sightings took place in rhododendron forests adjoining 
the grasslands. This pheasant registered the highest 
direct encounter rate, probably by virtue of its high 
visibility and flushing behaviour. 

Satyr Tragopan: This species was seen on three 
occasions, always solitary males within or close to 
rhododendron forests at around 3,300 m.This species 
is known to be shy and is not easily seen in its forested 
habitat. 

Hill Partridge: Ten individuals of this species were 
seen at altitudes of 2,200—3,600 m. Four of the five 
observations occurred in forested areas. 

Koklass Pheasant: One Koklass was seen on the first 
day at Pipar at 3,340 m. Although heard throughout 
the survey, this species was never subsequently sighted. 

Chukar Alectoris chukar. This species was heard and 
sighted twice in Pipar, on both occasions above 3,400 
m. There is no mention of this species from Pipar in 
earlier reports. 

Rufous-throated Partridge Arborophila rufogularis: 
Calls thought to be those of the Rufous-throated 
Partridge were heard from Diprang area (1,500 m). 
However, a visual confirmation of these birds is required 
to confirm its presence in this area. 

Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus: Calls of this 
species were heard near Gachok at approximately 1,200 
m. 

Heavy fog for the duration of the survey made it difficult 
to locate higher-altitude Galliformes (snowcocks and 
Snow Partridge).We found no evidence of Kalij Pheasant 
Lophura leucomelanos, which is known to occur at lower 
altitudes, close to the villages (Picozzi 1987). 


DISCUSSION 

Call counts 

Minor variations in call counts between different surveys 
are expected, either due to real variations in numbers 
or inconsistency in calling of birds (Young et al. 1987). 
However, the 60% increase documented by Howman 
and Garson (1993) (see Appendix 1) seems to be due 
to double counting of individual birds, especially when 
a single caller calls from two or more calling sites. Such 
inaccuracies may occur when the time spent on call 
counts is more than 15-20 minutes (Gaston 1980).Very 
often birds will move towards the direction of other 
callers after this time thereby giving the impression that 
more birds are present. 

Limitations of the call count technique have been 
discussed before (Duke 1990, Khaling et al. 1998). One 
of the main sources of error arises from individual 
observers hearing calls differently. Although this can be 
controlled to some extent by rotating one observer 
between points on different mornings, such practices 
may not eliminate the errors altogether, especially in 
the case of faintly heard birds. The inconsistency of bird 
calling is another source of error, which may affect results 
in short surveys (Young et al. 1987). Some birds may 
not call each morning and thus data generated from 
short surveys may be prone to a high level of error. A 
third problem is judging the distance from the listener 
to the bird, especially in the case of faintly heard birds. 
This becomes important when an observer has to decide 
whether to count or ignore a bird he/she can only just 
hear. It is, therefore, desirable to conduct the counts for 
4-5 successive mornings to provide an opportunity for 
observers to hear a representative sample of birds in the 
area and also to compensate for effects of varying 
weather conditions. Density indices based on call counts 
may provide erroneous results, especially if counts are 
done by inexperienced observers and if the duration of 
survey is short. 

In the past survey reports of call counts at Pipar, the 
highest number of calls heard on one particular morning 
during the survey has been considered a representative 
count of the area for that survey (Picozzi 1987, Howman 
and Garson 1993). However, the calling of birds may 
be affected by several factors, including weather and 
time of the day and year. Therefore, using the largest 
number of birds heard during a survey as an index of 
abundance to make comparisons between various 
surveys may be prone to error. The most reliable 
population index that can be derived from counts of 
the type we carried out appears to be the mean number 
of callers heard across all points and all mornings for a 
survey. Such an estimate will take into account the daily 
variations associated with calling and allows 
computation of an error on the mean. For example, 
during the 1991 survey, Howman and Garson (1993) 
reported 30 SatyrTragopans as the highest count heard 
from four call count points on one particular morning, 
an apparent increase of 60% from the preceding survey 
in 1987 (Picozzi 1987). Kaul and Shakya (1998) 
reported that the number of Satyr Tragopan callers had 
declined to a maximum of 12 callers on a morning. 
However, the mean number of calls heard per site was 
higher in 1998 (6 ± 0.4) than in 1991 (5.3 ± 0.8). 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


Spring call counts of some Galliformes in the Pipar Reserve, Nepal 


79 


There is apparently no damage to habitat and, from 
the accounts of the wildlife guard, negligible hunting of 
Galliformes occurs here.The figures obtained for Satyr 
Tragopan from call counts in 1998, despite being the 
lowest recorded in this project, are still healthy when 
compared with some other areas supporting Satyr 
Tragopan, e.g. Darjeeling (Khaling et al. 1998). The 
same may not be said about Koklass, which has been 
recorded in much higher abundance in certain areas of 
Himachal Pradesh, India (Gaston et al. 1981), and 
Pakistan (Severinghaus 1979). However, data indicate 
that there have been no significant changes in the 
population of Satyr Tragopan and Koklass in the Pipar 
Bowl and that they are stable. 

The present area of call counts is close to the upper 
altitudinal limit for Satyr Tragopan and Koklass and it 
would be revealing to see how they are distributed lower 
down. Our counts aroundThullo-Khobang suggest that 
they are not found lower than Thullo-Khobang at this 
time of the year and, therefore, the most promising 
altitude at which to conduct the counts would be 
somewhere higher. A trail/transect might be marked out 
at 2,600-2,700 m and call counts conducted for Satyr 
Tragopan and Koklass in the temperate forests just 
below the Pipar Bowl. 

CONSERVATION 

Pipar Reserve forms a part of the larger Annapurna 
Conservation Area, which is one of the most popular 
trekking localities in Nepal. The damaging impact of 
large scale and unplanned tourism became apparent in 
the late 1970s. 

The Pipar Reserve appears to be relatively safe as 
the locals have taken a decision to conserve this area, 
which in any case is not on any authorized trekking route. 
It is also relatively free from poaching, although on 
occasions some hunting groups have been known to 
operate here. Such incidents are not very common and 
probably do not cause much harm to the animal 
populations. 

Looking at the galliform figures for the last two 
decades, it appears that their populations are healthy. 
With species like the Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus 
jemlahicus, mainland Serow Naemorhedus sumatraensis, 
Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus and over 225 species 
of birds (Forester and Lelliott 1992, Kaul and Shakya 
1998) being present here, it may be only a matter of 
time before special interest tourists become attracted 
to this area. 

Pipar is a small reserve of only 46 krrr, and is 
therefore susceptible to ecological damage under tourist 
pressure. Efforts should, therefore, be directed towards 
reducing the impacts on wildlife that may arise from 
the plan to open this area as a tourist destination. This 
can primarily be achieved through regulated tourist 
volumes via entry fees, and by increasing the size of Pipar 
so that impacts may be either rotated amongst several 
routes, or else distributed evenly across larger areas, 
including the Pipar bowl. 

The area above the village of Santal, adjacent to the 
east bank of the River Seti, is uninhabited and could 
provide a contiguous extension of the Pipar sanctuary. 
This area lacks a biological inventory and therefore 


cannot at present be compared with Pipar Reserve. It 
is, therefore, important to survey that area before 
considering it as an extension of Pipar. 

Pheasant abundance, through both call counts and 
trail walks could be useful tools to use as biological 
indicators of tourism related impacts in Pipar. Thus, data 
on the pheasant populations at Pipar in the past and at 
the present time assume considerable significance. Such 
biological monitoring should be extended to the Santal 
area, and perhaps other areas in the upper Seti 
watershed. If possible, counts should be conducted at 
regular intervals. These surveys should also include a 
proper training element directed at the local people, in 
order to build their capacity to conserve an area that 
may be of crucial importance to their future livelihood. 


We wish to thank the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conserva¬ 
tion and Annapurna Conservation Area Project for the necessary 
permissions, Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) for providing local 
support, and the World Pheasant Association and James Goodhart 
for financial support. Many people contributed by volunteering to 
do the call counts in the field. They are: Mr Anil Shestra, Amrit 
Babu Karki, Mahesh Khadka, Manoj Shah, (BCN and Forestry 
College Pokhara) Bidur Bikram Kuinkel (ACAP), Bhuwan Thapa, 
Ravi Pradhan (BCN) and the then WPA Guard, the late Man 
Bahadur. We also wish to thank Phillip McGowan who made useful 
comments on an earlier draft. 


REFERENCES 

Dobremez, J. F. and Jest, C. (1971) Carte Ecologique du Nepal, 
Region Annapurna - Dhaulagiri, 1: 250,000. Doc. Carte.Veg.Alpes 
IX: 147-190. 

Duke, G. (1990) Using call counts to compare Western Tragopan 
populations in Pakistan’s Himalaya. Pp. 193-199 in D. A. Hill, 
P. J. Garson and D. Jenkins, eds. Pheasants in Asia 1989. Read¬ 
ing, U.K.: World Pheasant Association. 

Fleming, R. L. Sr, Fleming R. L. Jr and Bangdel, L. S. (1979) Birds 
of Nepal with reference to Kashmir and Sikkim. Kathmandu, Nepal: 
Avalok Publishers. 

Forester, J. A. and Lelliott, A. D. (1982) Pipar Wildlife Reserve Nepal: 
management proposals. Unpublished report to the World Pheas¬ 
ant Association. 

Garson, P. J. (1983) The Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii in Himachal 
Pradesh, western Himalayas: an update. Journal of World Pheas¬ 
ant Association 8: 29-39. 

Gaston, A. J. (1980) Census techniques for Himalayan pheasants 
including notes on individual species. Journal of World Pheasant 
Association 5: 40-53. 

Gaston, A. J., Garson, P. J. and Hunter, M. L. Jr (1981) Present 
distribution and status of pheasants in Himachal Pradesh, West¬ 
ern Himalayas. Journal of World Pheasant Association 6: 10-30. 

Gaston, A. J. and Singh, J. (1980) The status of the Cheer Pheasant, 
Catreus wallichii in the Chail Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal 
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Howman, S. and Garson, P. J. (1993) Pheasant surveys at Pipar 
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ants in Asia 1992. World Pheasant Association. Reading, U.K. 

Kaul, R. (1995) Report on visit to Nepal, 9-23 October, 1995 An¬ 
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Kaul, R. and Shakya, S. (1998) A wildlife survey of the Pipar Sanc¬ 
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Khaling, S., Kaul, R. and Saha G. K. (1998) Survey of the Satyr 
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Lelliott, A. D. (1981) Studies of Himalayan pheasants in Nepal with 
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80 


R. KAUL & S. SHAKYA 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Lelliott, A. D. and Yonzon, P. B. (1980) Studies of Himalayan Pheas¬ 
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Picozzi, N. (1984) An ecological survey of a proposed reserve for 
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Scotland. Unpublished. 

Picozzi, N. (1987) Pipar pheasant trek, April 1987. Unpublished 
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Severinghaus. S. R. (1979) Observations on the ecology and 
behaviour of the Koklass Pheasant in Pakistan. Journal of World 
Pheasant Association 4: 52-71. 


Stainton, J. D. A. (1972) Forests of Nepal. London: John Murray. 

Tamarkar, J. K. and Lelliott, A. D. (1981) Report to the National 
Parks andWildlife Conservation Department, HMG, on the Pipar 
area, Kaski District. Manuscript report. 

Yonzon, P. B. (1982) Nepal-Himalaya Pheasant Surveys in 1982. A 
report submitted to World Pheasant Association. Unpublished. 

Young, L., Garson, P. J. and Kaul, R. (1987) Calling behaviour and 
social organisation in the Cheer Pheasant: implications for sur¬ 
vey technique. Journal of World Pheasant Association 12: 30-43. 


Rahul Kaul, World Pheasant Association - South Asia Regional Office, do WWF-India, 172-B Lodhi Estate, New Delhi 
- 110 003, India 

Suresh Shaky a, P.O. Box 7503, 636 Ombahal, Kathmandu - 5, Nepal 


APPENDIX 1 

Call count data available for pheasant surveys in Pipar bowl 1979-1998 


Species/date 

Source 

No. 

of callers heard from points 



1 

2 

3 

4 

Satyr Tragopan 

21.5.79 

Lelliott 1981 

3 

4 

7 

5 

23.5.79 


3 

5 

6 

6 

1.5.80 

Lelliott 1981 

- 

- 

7 

4 

29.4.81 

Tamarkar and Lelliott 1981 

? 

? 

? 

P 

19.5.82 

Yonzon 1982 

? 

p 

p 

p 

28.4.83 

J. Roberts in litt. 

? 

? 

? 

? 

12.5.85 

WPA Party 

5 

4 

6 

- 

13.5.85 

— ditto — 

6 

3 

6 

- 

14.5.85 

— ditto — 

- 

- 

9 

8 

16.5.85 

— ditto — 

4 

4 

8 

10 

19.4.87 

Picozzi 1987 

5 

3 

13 

5 

20.4.87 

ditto — 

5 

4 

14 

3 

21.4.87 

— ditto — 

3 

5 

14 

- 

23.4.87 

— ditto — 

5 

6 

15 

5 

20.4.91 

Howman & Garson 1993 

3 

3 

1 


21.4.91 

— ditto — 

10 

6 

5 

5 

22.4.91 

— ditto — 

7 

6 

7 

10 

23.4.91 

— ditto — 

0 

4 

7 

5 

30.4.98 

Kaul & Shakya 1998 

4 

5 

- 

- 

1.5.98 

— ditto — 

6 

6 

- 

6 

2.5.98 

— ditto — 

- 

8 

- 

6 

3.5.98 

— ditto — 

- 

6 

- 

7 


Koklass Pheasant 

21.5.79 

Lelliott 1981 

5 

6 

7 

5 

23.5.79 


- 

6 

7 

4 

1.5.80 

Lelliott 1981 

? 

p 

p 

? 

29.4.81 

Tamarkar and Lelliott 1981 

? 

? 

? 

P 

19.5.82 

Yonzon 1982 

p 

p 

p 

p 

28.4.83 

J. Roberts in litt. 

p 

? 

? 

? 

12.5.85 

WPA Party 

7 

7 

6 

- 

13.5.85 

— ditto — 

6 

5 

8 

- 

14.5.85 

— ditto - 

- 

- 

9 

0 

16.5.85 

— ditto — 

4 

6 

8 

0 

19.4.87 

Picozzi 1987 

4 

3 

6 

0 

20.4.87 

— ditto — 

5 

6 

6 

0 

21.4.87 

— ditto — 

6 

5 

9 

0 

23.4.87 

— ditto — 

6 

12 

11 

1 

20.4.91 

Howman & Garson 1993 

7 

3 

4 

- 

21.4.91 

— ditto — 

5 

7 

4 

2 

22.4.91 

— ditto — 

- 

- 

- 

- 

23.4.91 

— ditto — 

- 

- 

- 

- 

30.4.98 

Kaul & Shakya 1998 

3 

7 

- 

- 

1.5.98 

— ditto — 

5 

6 

- 

1 

2.5.98 

— ditto — 

- 

6 

- 

2 

3.5.98 

— ditto — 

- 

6 

- 

2 





















































FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 81-90 


Birds recorded during visits to Ladakh, India, 

from 1994 to 1997 

OTTO PFISTER 


Four ornithological visits were made to Ladakh, India from 1994 to 1997, with the principal aim 
of studying the small breeding population of Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis. A total of 168 
species was recorded, including eight new for Ladakh: Pallid Scops Owl Otus brucei, Dunlin 
Calidris alpina. Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus, Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga. Cattle 
Egret Bubulcus ibis. Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus , Rusty-tailed Flycatcher Muscicapa ruficauda 
and Dark-sided Flycatcher M. sibirica. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis. Laughing Dove Streptopelia 
senegalensis and Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus were recorded at considerably higher 
elevations than previously reported in the Indian subcontinent. The breeding of Hume’s 
Groundpecker Pseudopodoces humilis was confirmed for Ladakh. Observations of 42 other species 
of interest are detailed and a complete list of species recorded, including information on abundance, 
status, location and period is appended. 


INTRODUCTION 

Ladakh, in India, at an average altitude of over 4,000 m 
above sea level, is located between two major mountain 
ranges, the Himalayas to the south and the Karakoram 
to the north. Kargil, located at 2,700 m in the extreme 
west, is the lowest area in Ladakh, whereas the highest 
peaks rise to over 7,000 m. 

The great Himalayan massif dominates the south¬ 
western/western topography of Ladakh with its mostly 
rugged, deep and steep terrain.The eastern and north¬ 
eastern territories of the region, which form the most 
western extension of the Tibetan Plateau, are dominated 
by dry, desert-like, high-altitude plains, soft rolling hills 
and wider valleys. In the characteristically high-altitude 
environment atmospheric conditions can change rapidly. 
In midsummer temperatures may easily drop from 
+30°C to -20°C on the upper plateaus as strong winds 
make their sudden appearance, whereas winter 
temperatures can reach as low as -45°C. Therefore, 
Ladakh provides difficult environmental and climatic 
conditions to its inhabitants. Once covered with an 
extensive lake system, the region today shows only some 
vestiges of wetlands, primarily located in the Rupchu 
and Changtang regions of eastern Ladakh, including 
Pagong-Tso, Tsomorari, Tso-Kar, Yoye-Tso and the 
marshes of Hanle, Chumur and Chushul. Ladakh’s 
sparse human population is, predominantly concentrated 
along the Indus. 

The results of four ornithological journeys, 
conducted between 1994 and 1997 in Ladakh, and 
covering predominantly its central and eastern 
territories, are provided. The 1995 and 1996, but 
especially the 1997 visits, concentrated principally on 
the study of the status and threats to the vulnerable 
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis, for which Ladakh 
represents the only known breeding ground within 
Indian territories. During these investigations, a total of 
168 different bird species was recorded, of which eight 
had not been reported earlier for the Ladakh region 
(Pfister 1997a).The more interesting observations are 
described in detail, followed by a comprehensive. 


annotated checklist that provides an overview of all the 
species encountered during the four surveys. 

LADAKH’S AVIFAUNA 

Ladakh is located on the border between the Palearctic 
and the Indo-Malayan zoogeographic zones, and is 
strongly influenced by typical species from both areas 
(Fig. 1). Further, characteristic Tibetan birds extend 
their ranges well into eastern Ladakh; and being the 
last or first accessible place during spring and autumn 
migration, it is staged by important aggregations of birds 
while crossing the lofty Himalayan range. In addition, 
its dry sunny summer months attract many summer 
visitors and breeders. These diverse ornithological 



Figure 1. Map of Ladakh 



82 


OTTO PFISTER 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


influences make Ladakh a melting pot of bird 
movements, resulting in more than 300 species recorded 
in the region so far (Pfister 1997a). 

Due to its strategic geographical location, four groups 
of birds can be identified, depending upon their time of 
occurrence within Ladakh limits: 

• The resident birds, well adapted to the harsh climate, 
spending the hostile winter months in lower valleys 
and mostly moving in summer to high elevations for 
breeding. 

• Birds on migration , comprising the biggest and most 
diverse group, transit Ladakh during early spring (late 
March and April) and autumn (September to 
November). They halt for brief periods of time, 
feeding and resting mainly along the Indus, in and 
around the high altitude wetlands and their adjoining 
prairies. 

• The summer visitors reach Ladakh during April/May, 
mostly for breeding, and they migrate from the Indian 
plains or the Tibetan plateau. Their main return 
migration in September and October extends into 
the onset of the cold season. 

• The wintering birds, represent the smallest group of 
visitors. They reach Ladakh during October or 
November, flying in from their northern Palearctic 
breeding grounds, and remaining near villages and 
rivers in the lower valleys before returning in April 
or May. 

METHODS 

Accessible territories, such as the areas of Kargil, Rizong 
and Phyong along the Indus, but mainly from Leh 
eastwards toTikse and Chumatang to Loma; the valley 
to Rumbak and Ganda-La; the Nubra and Tangtse 
valley; and the Rupchu and Changtang territories in 
the east, were visited during the regular surveys from 
1994 to 1997. The four trips were organized during the 
summer months between May and October. The average 
stay in Ladakh was four weeks, except for summer 1997, 
when a study for an uninterrupted period of five months 
from May until October was conducted. 

Birds were primarily recorded by employing the ‘line 
transect’ method, either from the vehicle or while hiking, 
apart from the occasions when intensive research was 
conducted while camping at the respective sites. 

RESULTS 

During the four surveys, a total of 168 species was 
encountered, accounting for over 50% of species known 
from the region. Eight new species for Ladakh were 
recorded: Pallid Scops Owl O tns brucei. Dunlin Calidris 
alpina, Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus, Greater 
Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga, Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, 
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus, Rusty-tailed 
Flycatcher Muscicapa ruficauda and Dark-sided 
Flycatcher M. sibirica. 

The observations of Black Drongo, Rusty-tailed 
Flycatcher, Dark-sided Flycatcher and Pallid Scops Owl 
signify an extension of those species’ known ranges, 
whereas sightings of Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 
at 4,340 m, Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis at 
4,350 m and Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus at 


4,450 m, increased those species’ altitudinal ranges to 
considerably higher elevations than previously reported. 
In addition, documentation of breeding Hume’s 
Groundpecker Pseudopodoces humilis extended the 
species’s known breeding range. 

SIGNIFICANT RECORDS 

The more significant and interesting notes on birds are 
listed below. The complete list of species recorded within 
Ladakh, including information on abundance, status, 
location and period is presented in the Appendix. The 
English and scientific bird names follow Inskipp et al. 
(1996). 

Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis 

While camping above Jurutse in the Rumbak valley 
(4,400 m) at the end of May 1996, the territorial calls 
of the Himalayan Snowcock dominated the early 
morning scene. Scattered presence was noted 
throughout the upper part of the valley towards Ganda- 
La. About four territories were defined. A party of four 
birds was observed on the south side of the Ladakh 
range, below Chang-La at 5,000 m on a rocky slope on 
7 June 1996. 

Tibetan Snowcock Tetraogallus tibetanus 
One was seen at the northern sparsely vegetated slope 
just belowTaglang-La at 5,500 m on 13 June 1997. Later 
that year, on 10 October, a group of 12 was seen, feeding 
on grass seeds in a ravine high above the Hanle plains 
at 4,900 m. Based on available information, it is 
suggested that the distribution of the Tibetan Snowcock 
in Ladakh extends westwards to the area ofTaglang-La 
and Chang-La, whereas further west is occupied by the 
Himalayan Snowcock. 

Tibetan Partridge Perdix hodgsoniae 
This uncommon resident species was found in the far 
eastern semi-dry, Caragana dotted valley bottoms. On 
6 June 1997 a pair was watched in their territory 
established near Sumdo (4,420 m) within a Caragana 
covered gully. This location represented a western 
extension of its range in Ladakh. On 15 July 1997 the 
breeding territory of another pair in a small valley south 
of Hanle (4,430 m) was detected. A cock, positioned 
on an elevated rock, was watched vigourously defending 
its territory. Further up the same valley another four 
birds were counted. On returning to the initial location, 
the original male appeared again, ‘guiding’ me away from 
a Caragana clump. When the location was inspected 
later, some pure white eggshells were found, but the 
chicks had already left. 

The birds were also noted in the lower side-valley 
running from the western Hanle plains towards Chumur. 
Here, in early August 1997, the partridge was 
surprisingly common, and various pairs were watched 
with four to six chicks trailing behind. Once, a whole 
clan of six adults and 15 chicks was counted moving 
uphill and disappearing amongst boulders at 4,650 m. 

Common Quail Coturnix coturnix 
A very brief view of one bird on 26 May 1996, amongst 
the buckthorn Hippophae covered Indus riverbanks near 
Shey (3,600 m), represented the only sighting. 




Forktail 17 (2001) 


Birds recorded during visits to Ladakh, India, from 1994 to 1997 


83 


Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus 

This near-threatened species is a common summer 
visitor to the eastern high altitude fresh and brackish 
water lakes and the upper part of the Indus river as far 
west as Leh. Colonies, containing fewer than 50 breeding 
pairs each, were observed in the smaller lakes in the 
Rupchu and Changtang areas, including Tso-Kar, 
Startsapuk-Tso, Lam-Tso, Tsigul-Tso etc., located 
between 4,000 and 4,500 m. However, the most 
important breeding area of this attractive goose is located 
in theTsomoriri, where literally hundreds of pairs rear 
their chicks on a large island in the northern part, as 
well as on various small islands near the southern edge 
of the lake. After fledging, many young birds with their 
parents were observed along the upper Indus from Mahe 
eastwards, mainly from the end of August until the first 
half of October, when they started to migrate south. 

GAim mjl Anas strepera 

This species is not commonly seen in Ladakh. The two 
records relate to birds on their southerly migration from 
25 September 1997 when five individuals were watched 
inYoye-Tso (4,700 m) and another three in the Indus 
near Nyoma (4,110 m) by 12 October of the same year. 

Red-crested Pochard Rhodonessa rufina 
Sightings of this species were not frequent. However, 
three birds (one duck and two drakes) were observed 
throughout summer 1997 in a pond west of Leh airport 
along the Srinagar road (3,450 m). Earlier, on 12 June 

1996, one drake in eclipse was recorded in the lower 
part of the Hanle valley (4,180 m) in a pond formed by 
the Hanle river. 

Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla 

One was watched on 21 September 1997 near the 
southern edge of the Tso-Kar plains at 4,610 m, when 
it was feeding around rocks at the edge of the grassland. 

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 
Apart from regular sightings of single birds in the Nubra 
valley (3,200 m) in early September 1997 and near the 
Indus in the Shey area (3,550 m) in mid-September 

1997, one was observed in mid-June 1997 below the 
Hanle monastery (4,340 m). In July it moved about 600 
m to the west and was joined by a second bird in August) 
both were still around in mid-October when the last 
survey of the season was conducted. This observation 
considerably exceeds the highest altitude of 3,100 m 
previously recorded for this species in the Indian 
subcontinent (Grimmett et al. 1998). 

Eurasian Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 
On 27 June 1997 a male was observed hunting insects 
in the grassy area of the eastern Hanle plains (4,340 
m), and on 3 August 1997 a female was seen further 
towards the west in Raar (4,370 m). On 6 September 
1997 another female was recorded in an orchard outside 
Hundar in the Nubra valley (3,100 m). 

Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea 
A single male was watched on 26 June 1997 in the dry 
sandy slopes below the Hanle monastery (4,350 m).The 
exhausted bird did not fly off when approached but 
scrambled away to seek cover amongst the rocks. 


Pallid Scops Owl Otus brucei 

After an overnight snow shower on 8 October 1997, a 
pair was observed roosting in the branches of the (only) 
willow Salix tree below Hanle monastery, at 4,340 m. 
One bird huddled close to the main trunk whilst the 
second bird, half covered by the tree’s yellowing snow¬ 
laden leaves, enjoyed the early morning sun. A new 
sighting for Ladakh, extending the species’s known 
distribution range further towards the north-east and 
considerably increasing its known altitudinal range 
(Pfister 1999a). 

Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo 

Three were recorded amongst the steep rocks near 
Sumdo (4,420 m) between June and September 1997, 
of which one pair inhabited a very old nesting-cum- 
roosting place, as examination of the dropping covered 
rocks and widespread pellets revealed. A second location 
near Lalpari (4,280 m), visited from June to August 
1997, produced a breeding pair raising two chicks. 
Further, an old roost was investigated behind the Hanle 
monastery (4,360 m) in June 1997 - it remained empty 
until September, when a single bird reoccupied the 
locality. 

Little Owl Athene noctua 

Two subspecies, Hutton’s Owlet A. n. bactriana and 
Tibetan Owlet A. n. ludlowi, were observed. Hutton’s 
Owlet was first found in September 1994, when one 
was observed at the southern end of the Tso-Kar plains 
(4,610 m). In July 1996 and in summer 1997 what was 
probably the same bird was found in the same area. 
Others were sighted in June 1995, July 1996 and summer 
1997, along the northern and eastern rocky slopes of 
the Tso-Kar plains, in the upper Indus Valley (4,000 
m), and on 7 June 1996 near the Chang-La pass at 5,100 
m. In June 1995, the Tibetan Owlet was noted at Tso- 
Kar. About the same size as bactriana, but appearing 
bulkier, with a darker chocolate-brown back, 
conspicuously spotted with white.The underparts were 
dirtier white, less heavily streaked with brown, with a 
broad dark grey-brown wash across the upper-breast. 
In 1996 and 1997, ludlowi was observed interbreeding 
with bactriana in the southern part of Tso-Kar; in the 
latter year three chicks were raised by the mixed pair 
(Pfister 1999a). 

Snow Pigeon Columba leuconota 

This resident species was most commonly observed in 
the upper hills of central and western Ladakh, but was 
less common further east. On 23 and 24 September 
1997 a strange pigeon was noted near Sumdo (4,420 
m), which looked intermediate between Hill Pigeon 
Columba rupestris and Snow Pigeon. It did not consort 
with Hill Pigeons, which were found in considerable 
flocks throughout the area, but stayed on its own. The 
eyes and legs were red, the head to upper-neck was 
uniform dark grey, and the lower neck and underparts 
were dirty white (darker beige, creamy), whereas the 
mantle, scapulars and rump appeared grey. The grey 
secondaries showed three white-fringed dark wing-bars, 
the primaries were dark grey and the tail was white with 
the broad black terminal bar, typical for both species. It 
was presumed to be a hybrid. 




84 


OTTO PFISTER 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur 
A single bird was found roosting in a poplar grove in 
Hundar/Nubra valley (3,100 m) on 9 September 1997. 

Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis 
A single bird was recorded on 3 October 1997 in the 
small hamlet below the Hanle monastery (4,350 m), 
feeding amongst Hill Pigeons. It remained in the vicinity 
for five more days. This may represent one of the highest 
altitudinal records of this lowland bird. 

Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis 

Faithful to their traditional nesting places in the eastern 
wetlands of Changtang, this summer visitor was 
observed in mid-June 1995 in Lalpari (4,280 m) (one 
breeding pair) and in the Hanle plains (4,350 m) (two 
pairs fighting for territories, plus a loner). In June 1996 
the area of Chushul (4,450 m) produced eight cranes 
(including one breeding pair),Tangtse valley (Harong, 
4,420 m) one breeding pair, Lalpari one breeding pair, 
the Hanle plains six birds (three breeding pairs) and 
Tso-Kar (4,610 m) three birds (including one breeding 
pair). During the period from June to October 1997, 
while conducting primarily field research to study the 
breeding ecology and conservation status of Grus 
nigricollis, 38 birds were recorded in the eastern region 
of Changtang, of which 24 were breeding (12 nests, 24 
eggs incubated, 13 eggs hatched, and nine chicks 
fledged, Pfister 1995, 1997b, 1998). 

Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla 

The first autumn migrants were recorded on 22 August 
1997, when two juveniles were watched in the swampy 
area of the Tso-Kar plains (4,610 m). Two adults 
appeared during the second half of September 1997 in 
Tso-Kar, another two were observed on 27-28 
September 1997 in Lalpari (4,280 m), and a dead 
juvenile was recovered from the same location. 

Tibetan Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes tibetanus 
Flocks of 6 to 15 birds were frequently observed in the 
northern part of the Tso-Kar plains (4,620 m) during 
every visit (September 1994, June 1995, June 1996 and 
June to September 1997). Singles periodically flew over 
the camp in the south of the area. On the Hanle plain 
(4,350 m) it was recorded occasionally, mainly from July 
to October 1997, when birds came into roost. Every 
day 11-13 birds flew north-east into the Hanle valley, 
between 17h00 and 17hl0. On 30 July 1997, in the 
western Hanle area a flock of over 40 was noted feeding 
at midday but they flew off west after being chased by a 
dog. The species was also seen at Chusul (4,250 m) in 
June 1996 and in mid-August 1997 in Lam-Tso/ 
Chumur (4,370 m), with a peak of 18 feeding on 17 
August. 

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa 
This uncommon migrant was first recorded in Tso-Kar 
(4,610 m) on 21 August 1997, when one was noted 
feeding on the shore of Startsapuk-Tso.Two more were 
observed in the same area from 19-22 September. 

Dunlin Calidris alpina 

A single juvenile fed from 26-28 September 1997 along 
the marshy side-arm of Hanle river in Lalpari (4,280 
m), frequently associating with Common Redshanks 


Tringa totanus. This represents the first record of the 
species for Ladakh. 

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 
A single, shy and wary individual was watched on 19- 
20 August 1997 at Lalpari (4,280 m). 

Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii 

At the end of June 1995, a pair was found breeding on 
a gravel bank in the Indus, below the iron bridge at Shey 
(3,550 m), and they raised two chicks. In June/July 1996, 
a pair was recorded in the same area, but no offspring 
were seen. In addition, an extra bird (last year’s young?) 
was recorded in their territory. From June to October 
1997 a pair was recorded breeding in the same location. 
In September one fledged juvenile was observed roosting 
on the bank with the adults. The status of the species in 
Ladakh still needs confirmation, some sources claim that 
it has been observed in winter along the Indus. 

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola 
Two birds were sighted roosting on a gravel-bank in the 
Indus below the Shey iron bridge (3,550 m) on 25 
August 1997. An uncommon autumn migrant. 

Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 

On 28 June 1995, at the north-west corner ofTsomoriri 
(4,550 m), one was observed chasing a Brown-headed 
Gull Larus brunnicephalus. It was a pale morph 
individual; the pointed wings, dark chest-band on the 
pale underparts, and the elongated, pointed central tail- 
feathers were conspicuous. It called a loud crae-crae- 
crae while following the slightly smaller gull. An 
unexpected addition to the Ladakh list. 

White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus 
One was seen on 23 June 1995, an overcast, rainy day, 
while scanning the shores of Startsapuk-Tso/Tso-Kar 
(4,610 m). 

Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus 
Though mainly considered an autumn passage migrant, 
one was observed hunting along the marshes of 
Lhungparma in theTangtse Valley (4,630 m) on 7 June 
1996. Good numbers were present in theTso-Kar plains 
in September 1994. In 1997, during August and 
September this species was regularly seen in the Tso- 
Kar plains, mainly around Startsapuk-Tso; in the early 
morning of 22 August, 26 birds (mixed juveniles and 
adults) were counted roosting or hunting along and over 
Startsapuk-Tso. A survey in the Nubra valley during 
the first two weeks of September 1997 produced regular 
sightings of mainly single birds. 

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 
In the evening of 5 June 1996 a male flew into the willow- 
grove below the Rizong monastery (3,320 m) to roost. 
A juvenile was seen resting on a rock high above Hanle 
(4,900 m) on 6 October 1997. 

(Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 
A dark phase bird encountered on 10 June 1997 atTso- 
Kar (4,610 m) was identified as this species (but see 
Naoroji and Forsman, this issue). A further indication 
of the presence of the species was found in a 13 cm long 
pellet of a Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo that was 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


Birds recorded during visits to Ladakh, India, from 1994 to 1997 


85 


collected at the latter’s nest-site in Lalpari (4,280 m). It 
contained (in addition to a large number of fish bones 
and some 5-10 mm pieces of gravel) a full leg of a large 
raptor! The tibia, tarsus and golden-yellow, finely scaled 
foot, the sharp strong blackish claws bent inwards, were 
fully preserved in one piece, although the leg was folded 
at the ‘knee’. The front of the tarsus was dark brown 
(with rufous fringes) and whitish feathered for its full 
length, whereas the back showed a wax-yellow to 
whitish-yellow covering of scales. The same pellet also 
contained a complete, 9.7 cm long, ulma, a vertebra 
almost 4 cm long, and many dark brown and pale body 
feathers. After analysing these remains it was concluded 
that the prey item had been a buzzard, most likely, given 
the leg colour, an Upland Buzzard.] 

Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus 

While camping in Lalpari (4,280 m) in mid-June and 
July 1997, one adult was regularly seen in the area. On 
2 August another bird was encountered 20 km south of 
Lalpari, at the eastern edge of the Hanle plains, and it 
was still there a few days later. 

Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga 
While surveying the western area of the Hanle plains 
on 30 September 1997, a very dark, mid-sized eagle was 
observed roosting on a rock at Raar (4,370 m). 
Subsequent examination of photographs established that 
it was a Greater Spotted Eagle. This represents a first 
sighting of this passage migrant for Ladakh. 

Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo 

The yearly surveys of the Shey marshland (3,600 m) 
from 1994 to 1997 produced regular sightings of this 
summer visitor. The birds were watched mainly hunting 
dragonflies over the marsh and devouring them in flight. 
Additionally, it was recorded on 5 June 1996 below 
Rizong monastery (3,200 m). 

Laggar Falcon Falco jugger/ Barbary Falcon F. 
peregrinus babylonicus 

One was noted in the early morning of 29 July 1997, 
roosting on a rock-top near the Hanle monastery (4,360 
m). 

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 
On 28 September 1997, a single, apparently of the 
subspecies F. p. calidus, was watched at Lalpari (4,280 
m), cruising over the marshes and hunting Garganey 
Anas querquedula. There have been only a few previous 
records of this migrant for Ladakh. 

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 
Startsapuk-Tso (4,610 m) is probably the highest 
nesting site of this rather uncommon summer visitor. 
Breeding pairs were observed annually from 1994 to 
1997 on the lake, and a survey in the last year produced 
26 nests. Further locations with regular nesting records 
were Tsomoriri (4,550 m) covered in summer 1994- 
1996, and Yoye-Tso (4,700 m) surveyed in June 1995 
and September 1997. 

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 

A single bird in breeding plumage was seen atTsomoriri, 
below Korzak village (4,550 m) on 27 June 1995 in the 
small river delta.The obviously tired egret was mobbed 


by Brown-headed Gulls Larus brunnicephalus for about 
two hours until it took off in a northerly direction, 
following the lake edge. This observation represents a 
first sighting of the species in Ladakh. 

Black Stork Ciconia nigra 

A subadult remained from 21 to 25 June 1996 in the 
grassy southern part of theTso-Kar plains (4,610 m). 

Hume’s Groundpecker Pseudopodoces humilis 
The species was first recorded on 17 June 96 above 
Hanle, in the area called KalakTurtar (4,950 m), when 
a pair was recorded feeding along a sandy slope. Later 
in the day, one was found digging out larvae from Kiang 
Equus kiang droppings. The bird did not swallow them 
but carried them down a slope, presumably to a hidden 
nest. On 25 June 1996, a pair was watched defending 
territory against an intruder, some hours’ walk south 
above theTso-Kar basin (5,470 m). At Chumur (4,450 
m) a family with five fledged young was watched on 14 
and 15 August 1997 and, three days later, another adult 
was seen feeding three fledged young, about one hour’s 
walk from the first location.These records confirm that 
the species breeds in Ladakh. 

Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus 
This summer visitor is quite commonly encountered in 
the lower tree-covered valley bottoms of Ladakh, along 
the Indus and its tributaries up to Chumatang (4,000 
m), as well as within the accessible locations in the Nubra 
valley from Hundar up to Panamik (3,100-3,350 m). 
The most surprising observation, however, was of a 
female, in Caragana bushes in the valley between 
Tsomoriri south/Nurbo Sumdo and Chumur at 4,450 
m. This just exceeds the highest altitude previously 
recorded in the Indian subcontinent (Grimmett et al. 
1998). 

Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus 
One was seen at Mahe bridge (checkpost, 4,080 m) on 
18 July 1997, and an exhausted individual was watched 
on the 4 October 1997 in the western part of the Hanle 
plains (4,370 m). 

White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus 
This local migrant species was seen quite commonly in 
fast-flowing mountain streams, mainly above 4,000 m, 
for instance at Rumbak/Ganad-La,Tsomoriri, the upper 
Indus valley and near Sumdo. An individual of the 
sordidus morph was seen in a side-valley on the west 
side of Tsomoriri (4,550 m) at the end of June 1995, 
where it was breeding with a normally coloured dipper 
in a water-mill. A second sordidus individual was recorded 
at Sumdo (4,420 m) from June to September 1997 
(Pfister 1999b). 

Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula 

One female was seen on 1 and 2 October 1997 below 

Hanle monastery (4,350 m). 

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 
This uncommon summer migrant was noticed twice in 
the Nubra valley: in a willow/poplar plantation near 
Hundar (3,100 m), and in a garden in Panamik (3,300 
m). 






86 


OTTO PFISTER 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica 
One was found hunting insects over the tributary river 
to the Indus at Mahe bridge (4,080 m).The first record 
of the species for Ladakh. 

Rusty-tailed Flycatcher Muscicapa ruficauda 
One was observed on 3 June 1996 in an open forested 
patch below Zinchan (3,450 m) near the trail descending 
from Rumbak.The first sighting for Ladakh. 

Grandala Grandala coelicolor 

A male was noted on 28 May 1996 in the narrow humid 
valley leading from Zinchan to Rumbak at 3,700 m. It 
was extremely shy and vanished without allowing a close 
approach. Probably a first sighting, yet much still needs 
to be discovered about the status of the species in 
Ladakh. 

Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria 
This species was recorded on 29 May 1996 below 
Rumbak (4,050 m) and again a few days later (5 June) 
while surveying the valley from Rizong to Ulle at 3,980 
m. During 1997, birds were noticed in the Nubra valley, 
above Hundar (3,400 m) on 5 September, and above 
Panamik (3,450 m) on 11 September. A week later a 
female was watched above Sumdo (4,450 m). 

Tibetan Lark Melanocorypha maxima 
This species was found breeding in the bogs of the Hanle 
plains (4,360 m) during summer 1997. Active nests were 
observed in late June; incubation was mainly attended 
to by the female. By mid-August 1997, flocks of up to 
30 were observed in the plains near Chumur (4,450 
m). By the end of September 1997 none was to be found. 
This suggests that the species is a summer visitor, 
especially as none was encountered further in the lower 
valleys further north and west. 

Plain-backed Snowfinch Pyrgilauda blanfordi 
These birds were not uncommonly seen in the sandy 
southern slopes in theTso-Kar plains (4,610 m) in early 
September 1994. At the end of June 1995 and in June 
1996 the species was found in the same area; in the 
latter year it was twice found breeding in pika Ochotona 
burrows, and three young were fledged in early July. The 
resident status of this species still needs to be confirmed. 

Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus 
One was watched from 8-11 June 1997, feeding near 
the spring on the southern edge of Startsapuk-Tso 
(4,610 m). An unusual record, because this species 
usually migrates through the eastern Himalaya to reach 
its northern breeding grounds. 

Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta 

One, in winter plumage, was observed in the marshy 
spring at the north end ofTso-Kar (4,610 m) on 21 
September 1994. 

Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris 

This resident species of extreme altitude was found in 

small groups (3 to 5 individuals) at the Kardung-La 


(5,700 m) feeding amongst boulders durihg a snow 
shower in early September 1997. 

Mongolian Finch Rhodopechys mongolica 
In late May 1996 some were seen in the stony plains on 
the Indus valley slopes west of Leh. In late June 1997 
small flocks were noted on the sandy slopes west of Loma 
(4,130 m) and, subsequently, individuals were seen 
during July and August in Hanle (4,350 m) .The August 
observations included sightings of fledged chicks still 
being fed by the parents. This confirms the suggestion 
that the species breeds in Ladakh (Harrop 1988). 

Red-fronted Rosefinch Carpodacus puniceus 
Chushul (4,450 m) produced sightings of the species 
on 11 June 1996 near Tsigul-Tso in open Caragana 
interspersed pasture land next to sandy dry slopes. The 
following day more birds were watched amongst 
Caragana thickets in the dry valley leading south from 
Chushul towards the Indus valley. On the 19 June 1996 
the species was again found in the northern, Caragana 
covered, dry valley part of the Tsomoriri area (4,580 
m) feeding on Caragana flowers. In June 1997 a pair 
was studied while breeding in a Caragana thicket in 
Lalpari (4,280 m) raising four chicks. 

Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla 
On 27 and 28 June 1997, one was watched amongst the 
bogs in southern Hanle/Shado Bug (4,340 m). An 
unusual record because this species usually migrates 
through the central and eastern Himalayas. 

Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps 
This uncommon passage migrant was added to the list, 
when one subadult was observed from 4 to 6 October 
1997 near the hamlet below the Hanle monastery (4,350 
m). 


REFERENCES 

Grimmett, R., Inskipp, C. and Inskipp,T. (1998) Birds of the Indian 
subcontinent. London: Christopher Helm. 

Harrop, A. (1988) Seasonal status of Mongolian Finch in Ladakh. 
Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 8: 31. 

Inskipp, T., Lindsey, N. and Duckworth, W. (1996) An annotated 
checklist of the birds of the Oriental Region. Sandy, Oriental Bird 
Club. 

Ludlow, F. (1920) Notes on the nidification of certain birds in Ladak. 

J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 27: 141-146. 

Osmaston, B. B. (1925) The birds of Ladakh. Ibis (12)1: 663-719. 
Pfister, O. (1995)The cranes of Hanley. Sanctuary (Asia) 15(6): 28- 
32. 

Pfister, O. (1997a) An introduction to birds of Ladakh. University 
of Hull. Unpublished. 

Pfister, O. (1997b) Black-necked Cranes acting as foster parents. 

Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 25: 58, 60. 

Pfister, 0.(1998) The breeding ecology and conservation of the Black¬ 
necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in Ladakh/India. University of 
Hull. Thesis, unpublished. 

Pfister, O. (1999a) Owls in Ladakh. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 29: 
22-28. 

Pfister, O. (1999b) Observations on dippers, including the sordidus 
morph ofWhite-throated Dipper in Ladakh, India. Oriental Bird 
Club Bulletin 30: 26-30. 


Transversal 1 Este # 57-42, Bogota D.C., Colombia; email: opfister@andinet.com 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


Birds recorded during visits to Ladakh, India, from 1994 to 1997 


87 


Appendix. Bird sightings in Ladakh 1994-1997 


Name 

Scientific Name 

Status 

Habitat 

1994 

1995 

1996 

1996 

1997 

1997 

1997 

1997 

1997 





Sep. 

Jun. 

May 

Jun. 

Jun. 

Jul. 

Aug. 

Sep. 

Oct. 





Q 

< 

ABDEGI 

AKL 

C-EGM-0 

w 

< 

w 

6 

AD-G 

ACDHI 

PJ 

ca 

GALL1F0RMES 

Phasianidae 

Himalayan Snowcock 

Tetraogallus himalayensis 

RES 

RSS 



kk 

kk 






Tibetan Snowcock 

Tetraogallus tibetanus 

RES 

RSS 





k 




kk 

Chukar 

Alectoris chukar 

RES 

RSS 

■kick 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 


kkk 

*★* 

**★ 

Tibetan Partridge 

Perdix hodgsoniae 

RES 

RSS, AF 





kk 

kk 

** 

kk 


Common Quail 

Coturnix coturnix 

unknown 

BU 



k 







ANSERIFORMES 

Anatidae 

Bar-headed Goose 

Anser indicus 

SUVI-br 

LA, RI 

kkk 

kkk 


kkk 

kkk 

*★* 

kkk 

kkkk 

kkk 

Ruddy Shelduck 

Tadorna ferruginea 

SUVI-br 

LA, RI 

kkkk 

kkk 


kkk 

kkkk 

**** 

kkk 

kkkk 

kkk 

Gadwall 

Anas strepera 

PAMI, SUVI-nb 

LA, RI 

X 







** 

kk 

Eurasian Wigeon 

Anas penelope 

PAMI, SUVI-nb 

LA, RI 




X 




*** 


Mallard 

Anas platyrhynchos 

PAMI, SUVI-nb 

LA, RI 


k 

kk 

X 






Northern Shoveler 

Anas clypeata 

PAMI, SUVI-nb 

LA, RI 




X 



** 

kk 

kkk 

Northern Pintail 

Anas acuta 

PAMI, SUVI-nb 

LA, RI 

X 

X 

X 

X 


** 

kkk 

kkkk 


Garganey 

Anas querquedula 

PAMI, SUVI-nb 

LA, RI, MA 



★ * 

kkk 


** 

kkkk 

kkkk 

kkk 

Red-crested Pochard 

Rhodonessa rufina 

SUVI-nb, PAMI 

LA, RI 




kk 

kk 


kk 

kk 


Common Pochard 

Aythya ferina 

PAMI, SUVI-nb 

LA, RI 




X 




kk 


Tufted Duck 

Aythya fuligula 

PAMI, SUVI-nb 

LA, RI 




X 






Common Merganser 

Mergus merganser 

SUVI-br 

RI 

kk 

•k-k-k 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kk 

kkk 

kkkk 

PICIFORMES 

Picidae 

Eurasian Wryneck 

Jynx torquilla 

SUVI-br, PAMI 

RSS 








k 


UPUPIFORMES 

Upupidae 

Common Hoopoe 

Upupa epops 

SUVI-br, PAMI 

RSS, AF, GR 

kkk 

** 

kk 


** 

kk 

kkkk 

kkk 

kkk 

CORACIIFORMES 

Alcedinidae 

Common Kingfisher 

Alcedo atthis 

SUVI-nb 

RI 





kk 

kk 

kk 

** 

** 

CUCULIFORMES 

Cuculidae 

Eurasian Cuckoo 

Cuculus canorus 

PAMI 

GR,TR 





* 


k 

* 


Asian Koel 

Eudynamys scolopacea 

PAMI 

RSS 





k 





APODIFORMES 

Apodidae 

Alpine Swift 

Tachymarptis melba 

SUVI-?br 

AE 





k 





Common Swift 

Apus apus 

SUVI-?br 

AE 



** 




** 

** 


Fork-tailed Swift 

Apus pacificus 

SUVI-nb 

AE 





k 





STRIGIFORMES 

Strigidae 

Pallid Scops Owl NSL 

Otus brucei 

PAMI 

TR 









k 

Eurasian Eagle Owl 

Bubo bubo 

RES 

RK 





** 

** 


kk 

k 

Little Owl 

Athene noctua 

RES 

RSS 

** 

** 


kk 

*★* 

kkk 

kk 

k 


COLUMBIFORMES 

Columbidae 

Rock Pigeon 

Columba livia 

RES 

RK, AF, UR 


-k-k-k 

kkk 

** 

kkk 


kkk 

kkkk 


Hill Pigeon 

Columba rupestris 

RES 

RK, AF 

-k-k 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

*** 

*** 

Snow Pigeon 

Columba leuconota 

RES 

RS, AF, RSS 

■k-k 

kk 

kkk 





k 


European Turtle Dove 

Streptopelia turtur 

SUVI-Pbr, PAMI 

TR 








* 


Oriental Turtle Dove 

Streptopelia orientals 

RES 

TR 


kkk 

kkkk 

kk 

kkk 


kkk 

kkk 

★ 

Laughing Dove 

Streptopelia senegalensis 

PAMI 

RSS, TR 









k 


GRUIFORMES 


Gruidae 


Black-necked Crane 

Grus nigricollis 

SUVI-br 

MA, LA, RI 

kk 

kk 

** kk kkk 

kk kk 

Rallidae 

Baillon’s Crake 

Porzana pusilla 

PAMI 

MA 



kk 

kk k 

Common Moorhen 

Gallinula chloropus 

PAMI 

MA 


★ 


kkk k 

Common Coot 

Fulica atra 

SUVI-Pbr 

MA, LA 


** *** 

kk kkk 

kkkk 

CICONIIFORMES 

Pteroclidae 

Tibetan Sandgrouse 

Syrrhaptes tibetanus 

RES 

RSS, GR 


** 

kk kkk kkk 

** 

Scolopacidae 













































































































88 


OTTO PFISTER 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Name 

Scientific Name 

Status 

Habitat 

1994 

1995 

1996 

1996 

1997 

1997 

1997 

■ 1997 

1997 





Sep. 

Q 

< 

Jun. 

O 

w 

Q 

03 

< 

May 

£ 

< 

Jun. 

o 

5 
o 

w 

6 

Jun. 

UJ 

< 

Jul. 

w 

6 

Aug. 

o 

Q 

< 

Sep. 

E 

G 

O 

<r 

Oct. 

w 

03 

Pintail Snipe 

Gallinago stenura 

PAMI 

MA 

kk 







k 


Common Snipe 

Gallinago gallinago 

PAMI 

MA 







*** 

kkk 

kk 

Black-tailed Godwit 

Limosa limosa 

PAMI 

MA 







★ 

* 


Whimbrel 

Numenius phaeopus 

PAMI 

MA, GR 







k 



Eurasian Curlew 

Numenius arquata 

PAMI 

MA, GR 

■kk 






kk 

kk 


Common Redshank 

Tringa totanus 

SUVI-br 

MA 

kkk 

kkk 


kkk 

*** 

kkk 

kkk 

kkkk 

** 

Common Greenshank 

Tringa nebularia 

PAMI 

MA 

* 






k 



Green Sandpiper 

Tringa ochropus 

SUVI-?br 

MA 

■kirk 




kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kk 

Wood Sandpiper 

Tringa glareola 

PAMI 

MA 


kk 

k 


kk 

kk 

kk 

kk 


Common Sandpiper 

Actitis hypoleucos 

PAMI 

MA 






kkk 

** 



Little Stint 

Calidrh minuta 

PAMI 

MA 








kk 

kk 

Temminck's Stint 

Calidris temminckii 

PAMI 

MA 



k 


k 


kkk 

kkk 


Dunlin NSL 

Calidrh alpina 

PAMI 

MA 









k 

Curlew Sandpiper 

Calidris ferruginea 

PAMI 

MA 







k 

k 


Ruff 

Philomachus pugnax 

PAMI 

MA, GR 








k 


Charadriidae 

Ibisbill 

Ibidorhyncha struthersii 

SUVI-br, RES 

RI 


** 

** 


k 


k 

k 


Black-winged Stilt 

Himantopus himantopus 

PAMI 

MA, RI 

kk 


k 



kk 

kk 

kkk 


Pacific Golden Plover 

Pluvialis fulva 

PAMI 

MA, GR 








k 

* 

Little Ringed Plover 

Charadrius dubius 

SUVI-?br 

MA 



k 


kk 





Lesser Sand Plover 

Charadrius mongolns 

SUVI-br 

RSS, MA 

kkkk 

kkk 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkkk 

kk 


Glareolidae 

Collared Pratincole 

Glareola pralincola 

PAMI 








k 



Laridae 

Parasitic Jaeger NSL 

Slercorarius parasiticus 

PAMI 

AE 










Heuglin’s Gull 

Larus heuglini 

PAMI 

RI 

k 








★ 

Pallas's Gull 

Larus ichthyaetus 

PAMI 

RI 

kk 







kk 

kk 

Brown-headed Gull 

Larus brunnicephalus 

SUVI-br 

RI, LA 

kkk 

kkk 

kk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

*** 

kkk 

kk 

Black-headed Gull 

Larus ridibundus 

PAMI 

RI, LA 








kk 

** 

Little Gull 

Larus minutus 

PAMI 

RI, LA 


k 








Common Tern 

Sterna hirundo 

SUVI-br 

RI, LA 

kk 

kkk 

kk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kk 

Little Tern 

Sterna albifrons 

PAMI 

RI, LA 


k 








Whiskered Tern 

Chlidonias hybridus 

SUVI-?br 

RI, LA 









k 

White-winged Tern 

Chlidonias leucopterus 

PAMI 

RI, LA 


k 








Accipitridae 

Black Kite 

Milvtts migrans 

SUVI-br 

AE, TR 

kk 


kk 


kk 



kkk 

kk 

Lammergeier 

Gypaetus barbatus 

RES 

RK, AE 



kk 

kk 

kk 


k 


kk 

Himalayan Griffon 

Gyps himalayensis 

RES 

RK, AE 

k 



k 



k 

kk 

kk 

Eurasian Marsh Harrier 

Circus aeruginosus 

PAMI 

MA, AE 

*** 



k 



kkk 

kk 


Eurasian Sparrowhawk 

Accipiter nisus 

SUVI-br 

TR, RSS 

* 



k 





★ 

Northern Goshawk 

Accipiter gentilis 

PAMI 

AE 

k 









Upland Buzzard NSL 

Buteo hemilasius 

SUVI-br 

RK, AE 





k 





Long-legged Buzzard 

Buteo rufinus 

SUVI-nb 

RSS, GR 





kk 

kk 

k 



Greater Spotted Eagle NSL 

Aquila clanga 

PAMI 

RK, AE 







k 



Golden Eagle 

Aquila chrysaetos 

RES 

AE, RK 

k 

kk 

k 

k k 

kkk 

kk 

*★ 

k 

★ 

Falconidae 

Common Kestrel 

Falco tinnunculus 

SUVI-br 

AE, RSS 

kk 

kk 

kk 

kk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

Eurasian Hobby 

Falco subbuteo 

SUVI-br 

AE,TR 


kk 

kk 

k 

kk 




k 

Peregrine Falcon 

Falco peregrinus 

PAMI 

AE 









k 

Laggar Falcon 

Falco jugger 

PAMI 

RK, AE 






k 




Podicipedidae 

Great Crested Grebe 

Podiceps cristatus 

SUVI-br 

LA 

kkk 

kkk 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 


Ardeidae 

Grey Heron 

Ardea cinerea 

PAMI 

MA, LA, RI 

kk 

k 



kk 



kkk 

kk 

Cattle Egret NSL 

Bubulcus ibis 

PAMI 

MA 


k 








Indian Pond Heron 

Ardeola grayii 

PAMI 

MA 








** 


Ciconiidae 

Black Stork 

Ciconia nigra 

PAMI 

GR, MA 




k 






PASSERIFORMES 

Laniidae 

Rufous-tailed Shrike 

Lanius isabellinus 

PAMI 

BU 








* 

k 

Long-tailed Shrike 

Lanius schach 

SUVI-br 

TR, BU 





** 


* 

* 

k 

Grey-backed Shrike 

Lanius tephronotus 

SUVI-br 

TR, BU 


** 

kk 

k 

kk 


kk 



Corvidae 

Black-billed Magpie 

Pica pica 

RES 

TR, UR 

kkk 

**** 

*** 

kkk 

kkk 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 








































































Forktail 17 (2001) 


Birds recorded during visits to Ladakh, India, from 1994 to 1997 


89 


Name 

Scientific Name 

Status 

Habitat 

1994 

1995 

1996 

1996 

1997 

1997 

1997 

1997 

1997 





AD J? 

V 

ABDEGI ^ 

p 

May 

< 

Jun. 

o 

o 

to 

6 

Jun. 

w 

< 

Jul. 

w 

6 

Aug. 

a 

Q 

< 

Sep. 

2 

Q 

U 

< 

Oct. 

UJ 

CQ 

Hume’s Groundpecker 

Pseudopodoces humilis 

SUVI-br 

RSS 




** 



kk 



Red-billed Chough 

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 

RES 

RK, AE, AF 



kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

**★ 

kkk 

kkk 

*** 

Yellow-billed Chough 

Pyrrhocorax graculus 

RES 

RK, AE, AF 



kkk 




** 

kkk 


Carrion Crow 

Corvus corone 

RES 

TR, AF, UR 





kk 


** 

** 


Large-billed Crow 

Corvus macrorhynchos 

RES 

TR, AF, UR 


•kirk 

kkk 

** 

*** 


kkk 

kkk 


Common Raven 

Corvus corax 

RES 

RK, UR 

kk 

*** 


kkk 

★ ** 

kkk 

kkk 

*** 

*** 

Eurasian Golden Oriole 

Oriolus oriolus 

SUVI-br 

TR, BU 


kk 

kk 


kk 


k 

** 


Black Drongo NSL 

Dicrurus macrocercus 

SUVI-nb, PAMI 

TR, AE 






k 



k 

Cinclidae 

White-throated Dipper 

Cinclus cinclus 

RES 

RI 

X 

kk 

kk 

kk 

kk 

*** 




Brown Dipper 

Cinclus pallasii 

RES 

RI 








kkk 


Muscicapidae 

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 

Monticola saxatilis 

PAMI 

BU, RSS 








kk 


Blue Rock Thrush 

Monticola soliiarius 

SUVI-br 

RSS 

X 


kk 

k 

kk 

kk 

k 

kkk 


Blue Whistling Thrush 

Myophonus caeruleus 

SUVI-?br 

RI, BU 




k 

kk 





Tickell’s Thrush 

Turdus unicolor 

PAMI 

MA, GR 





kk 




kk 

Eurasian Blackbird 

Turdus merula 

PAMI 

GR,MA, RK 









k 

Dark-throated Thrush 

Turdus ruficollis 

WIVI 

GR, MA 









* 

Spotted Flycatcher 

Muscicapa striata 

SUVI-?br 

BU, TR 








kk 


Dark-sided Flycatcher NSL 

Muscicapa sibirica 

PAMI 

BU, TR 








k 


Rusty-tailed Flycatcher NSL 

Muscicapa ruficauda 

unknown 

TR 



■* 







White-tailed Rubythroat 

Luscinia pectoralis 

SUVI-br 

BU 




** 

kk 

kk 

k 

-** 


Bluethroat 

Luscinia svecica 

SUVI-br 

BU 


kkkk 

kkk 


kk 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

Black Redstart 

Phoenicurus ochruros 

SUVI-br 

BY, RK, RSS 

** 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

*** 

kkkk 

■** 

White-winged Redstart 

Phoenicurus erythrogaster 

RES 

RSS, GR, BU 

kk 

k 


kk 

k 



*** 

**★ 

White-capped Water Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus 

SUVI-?br 

RI, BU 





k 


** 



Grandala 

Grandala coelicolor 

unknown 

RK 



k 







Common Stonechat 

Saxicola torquata 

PAMI 

BU 








kk 


Pied Wheatear 

Oenanthe pleschanka 

PAMI 

GR, RSS 









kk 

Desert Wheatear 

Oenanthe deserti , 

SUVI-br 

GR, RSS 


kkk 


*** 

kkk 

kkkk 

kkk 

*** 

** 

Sturnidae 

Brahminy Starling 

Sturnus pagodarum 

PAMI 

GR 









kk 

Rosy Starling 

Sturnus roseus 

PAMI 

BU 







k 

kk 


Sittidae 

Wallcreeper 

Tichodroma muraria 

SUVI-br 

RK 



k 





kk 


Paridae 

Great Tit 

Parus major 

RES 

TR, UR 

*** 


kk 


kkk 


kkk 

kkk 


Hirundinidae 

Sand Martin 

Riparia riparia 

SUVI-br 

RK, AE 





kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kk 


Eurasian Crag Martin 

Hirundo rupestris 

SUVI-br 

RK, AE 

** 

k 

kk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

*** 

kk 

kkk 

Barn Swallow 

Hirundo rustica 

SUVI-br 

AE, UR 




kk 

k 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

Northern House Martin 

Delichon urbica 

SUVI-br 

AE, UR, RK 

** 


** 


*** 

*** 

*★ 

★ * 


Sylviidae 

Blyth’s Reed Warbler 

Acrocephalus dumetorum 

SUVI-br 

BU 








kk 


White-browed Tit Warbler 

Leptopoecile sophiae 

SUVI-br 

BU 








k 


Common Chiffchaff 

Phylloscopus collybita 

SUVI-br 

BU, TR 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

** 





Mountain Chiffchaff 

Phylloscopus sindianus 

SUVI-br 

BU 



k 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 


Tickell’s LeafWarbler 

Phylloscopus affinis 

SUVI-br 

BU 

kk 

k 


kk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kk 

kk 

Sulphur-bellied Warbler 

Phylloscopus griseolus 

SUVI-br 

BU, RK 








k 


Hume’s Warbler 

Phylloscopus humei 

PAMI 

BU,TR 








kk 


Western Crowned Warbler 

Phylloscopus occipitalis 

PAMI 

BU,TR 








k 


Lesser Whitethroat 

Sylvia curruca 

SUVI-br 

BU 


kkk 

kkk 


kkk 


kkk 

kkk 


Alaudidae 

Tibetan Lark 

Melanocorypha maxima 

SUVI-br 

BO 





kkk 

kkk 

kkk 



Greater Short-toed Lark 

Calandrella brachydactyla 

SUVI-br 

GR, BO 








kk 


Hume’s Short-toed Lark 

Calandrella acutirostris 

SUVI-br 

GR, BO 


kkk 


kkk 

kkk 

kkkk 

kkkk 

kkkk 

kkkk 

Homed Lark 

Eremophila alpestris 

SUVI-br, RES 

GR, RSS 

*** 

kkk 

kk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

*** 

kkkk 

kkkk 

Passeridae 

House Sparrow 

Passer domesticus 

RES 

UR, AF, 


kk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkkk 

kkk 

kkk 

Tibetan Snowfinch 

Montifringilla adamsi 

RES 

RSS, RK, UR 


kkk 

kkk 

*** 

kkk 

kkkk 

kkkk 

kk 

kk 

Plain-backed Snowfinch 

Pyrgilauda blanfordi 

SUVI-br 

RSS, GR 

kk 

kk 



*** 

kkk 

*** 



Forest Wagtail 

Dendronanthus indicus 

PAMI 

GR, MA 





kk 





White Wagtail 

Motacilla alba 

SUVI-br 

MA, GR, RI 

kkkk 

kkk 

*** 

*** 

kkk 


kkk 

kkkk 

kkk 

Citrine Wagtail 

Motacilla citreola 

SUVI-br 

MA, GR 


kkk 

** 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

Yellow Wagtail 

Motacilla flava 

SUVI-br 

MA 

★ 

* 

kk 





** 









































































































90 


OTTO PFISTER 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Name 

Scientific Name 

Status 

Habitat 

1994 

1995 

1996 

1996 

1997 

1997 

1997 

1997 

1997 





Sep. 

Q 

< 

Jun. 

O 

w 

Q 

ea 

< 

May 

£ 

< 

C-EGM-0 'T 

P 

Jun. 

w 

< 

Jul. 

w 

CJ 

Aug. 

o 

Q 

< 

Sep. 

2 

Q 

CJ 

<e 

Oct. 

w 

CQ 

Grey Wagtail 

Motacilla cinerea 

SUVI-br 

MA 


k 

kk 

k 

kk 


** 

kk 


Water Pipit 

Anthus spinoletta 

PAM1 

MA 

k 



k 






Tree Pipit 

Anthus trivialis 

PAMI 

MA, GR 








★ * 


Rosy Pipit 

Anthus roseatus 

PAMI 

MA, GR 








kk 


Alpine Accentor 

Prunella collaris 

RES 

RK, RSS 








** 


Robin Accentor 

Prunella rubeculoides 

RES 

RSS, BU 

kk 

■kick 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kk 

kkk 

kkk 

Brown Accentor 

Prunella fulvescens 

RES 

RSS, BU 



kk 

kk 

kkk 


kk 

kkk 

*** 

Fringillidae 

Fire-fronted Serin 

Serinus pusillus 

RES 

TR, RSS 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kk 

kkkk 

** 

kk 

kkk 

** 

Twite 

Carduelis flavirostris 

RES 

RSS, BU 


kk 


kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kk 

Plain Mountain Finch 

Leucosticte nemoricola 

RES 

BU, RSS 




kk 



kkk 

kkk 


Brandt’s Mountain Finch 

Leucosticte brandti 

RES 

RSS 



kk 

kk 

kk 

kkk 

kkk 



Mongolian Finch 

Bucanetes mongolicus 

RES 

RSS 



kk 


kk 

kk 

kk 



Common Rosefinch 

Carpodacus erythrinus 

SUVI-br 

BU, TR 


kk 

kk 

kk 

kkk 


kkk 

kkk 


Streaked Rosefinch 

Carpodacus rubicilloides 

RES 

BU 


kkk 

kk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

kkk 

*** 

kkk 

Great Rosefinch 

Carpodacus rubicilla 

RES 

BU, AF 


k 


kk 

kk 

kk 


k 


Red-fronted Rosefinch 

Carpodacus puniceus 

RES 

BU 




kk 



** 



Rock Bunting 

Emberiza cia 

SUVI-br 

RSS 



kk 

k 

kk 





Little Bunting 

Emberiza pusilla 

PAMI 

MA 





k 





Red-headed Bunting 

Emberiza bruniceps 

PAMI 

RSS 









kk 


Keys to Check-list 


Surveyed Areas: 


Habitat types 

A 

Indus valley (Rizong-Upshi) 

3000-3600 m 

AE 

aerial 

B 

Indus valley (Upshi-Nyoma) 

3600-4100 m 

LA 

lakes / ponds 

C 

Mahe Bridge - Sumdo 

4100-4300 m 

RI 

rivers 

D 

Tso-Kar plains 

4610 m 

MA 

marsh, swamps, river and lake-side mudflats 

E 

Lalapari-Hanley 

4280-4400 m 

BO 

bogs 

F 

Chumur 

4400 m 

GR 

grasslands 

G 

Nurbo-Sumdo /Tsomorin 

4550 m 

AF 

agricultural fields 

H 

Nubra valley (Hundar-Diskit-Panamik) 

3100-3300 m 

BU 

bushes, thickets 

I 

Yoye-Tso 

4700 m 

TR 

tree plantations, orchards 

K 

Rumbak valley (Zinchan-Rumbak) 

3400-4000 m 

UR 

urban / semi-urban areas 

L 

Ganda-La (Jurutse - Ganda-La) 

4200-5000 m 

RK 

rocks / boulders 

M 

Rizong (Rizong-Ulle) 

3200-4500 m 

RSS 

rocky, sandy shores 

N 

Chang-La 

4500-5550 m 



0 

Tangtse - Chushul 

4500 m 



Abundance of Species: 


Status: 


k 

rare (1-3) sightings 


RES 

resident 

kk 

occasional (4-10 sightings) 


SUVI- br 

summer visitor, breeding 

kkk 

common (generally regularly seen) 


SUVI- nb 

summer visitor, non-breeding 

k-kkk 

abundant 


WIVI 

winter visitor 

X 

sighting, but no abundance measure 


PAMI 

passage migrant 

NSL 

new record for Ladakh 






























FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 91-103 


Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India 

ANWARUDDIN CHOUDHURY 

The state of Nagaland in India, a part of the Eastern Himalaya Endemic Bird Area, is a poorly 
known bird area. Findings of a recent study have been documented here. Noteworthy records 
include some globally threatened and near-threatened species such as Blyth’sTragopan Tragopan 
blythii, Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli and Wedge-billed Wren Babbler Sphenocichla humei. A 
large number of birds are sold at local markets for food. An annotated checklist of all the birds 
(487 species) recorded so far is also presented. Some important observations are presented in 
greater detail. Conservation problems are discussed briefly and recommendations made for 
protection of habitat and birds. 


INTRODUCTION 

The state of Nagaland is located in the north-eastern 
part of India (25°10'-27°01'N, 93°17'-95°15'E). It 
covers an area of 16,600 km 2 and is divided into seven 
districts: Kohima, Mokokchung, Mon, Phek,Tuensang, 
Wokha and Zunheboto. Physiographically, almost all of 
Nagaland is hilly and mountainous.The main hill ranges 
are the Barail in the south and south-west and Patkai in 
the north. A high range exists along the border with 
Myanmar and Mt Saramati (3,842 m) is the highest 
point in the range and in Nagaland. The hills in the 
central areas are commonly referred to as the ‘Naga 
Hills’. The highest peak of the Barail Range is Mt Japfu 
(Japvo) which stands at 3,043 m. Small plains occur 
along the Dhansiri River, especially near Dimapur, and 
to some extent near other rivers where they enter Assam. 
There are smaller montane valleys in different areas. 

The climate of Nagaland is tropical ‘monsoon’ type 
with a hot wet summer and a cool dry winter. Winter 
rains are also not uncommon. Annual rainfall for the 



Fig 1. Map of Nagaland showing the places mentioned in 
the text (shaded areas = land above 1800 m) 


state varies from about 1,000 mm in the south-west to 
more than 6,000 mm in the north. The temperature 
generally ranges from less than 0°C in winter (minimum, 
especially on Mt Saramati) to 35°C in summer 
(maximum). 

Tropical wet evergreen forest occurs in patches in 
the lower and middle elevations all over, except in the 
south-west where tropical moist deciduous and semi¬ 
evergreens dominate. Many of the river valleys and 
gorges are covered with evergreen forest. The tropical 
semi-evergreen forest also occurs in many of the once 
evergreen pockets. The hollong Dipterocarpus 
macrocarpus, mekai Shorea assamica and nahor Mesua 
ferrea are some of the notable tree species of the tropical 
evergreen forest. In the deciduous forest of the south¬ 
west, bhelu Tetrameles nudiflora, gamari Gmelina arborea 
and banji-ou Dillenia scabrela are some of the noteworthy 
species. 

In the higher hills, especially on the Barails, in Satoi, 
Mt Japfu and on the slopes of Mt Saramati, subtropical 
broadleaf (evergreen) forest occurs with small areas of 
conifers in the eastern parts. Higher up on Saramati, 
temperate broadleaf forest is found, while atop (Mt 
Saramati) the vegetation type is subalpine. During 
winter, the peak remains under snow. There is no large 
grassland in Nagaland; however, small patches occur in 
sheltered valleys and along the rivers with Phragmites 
spp., Arundo donax, Neyraudia reynaudiana, Themeda 
villosa and Saccharum spp. In the abandoned jhum (slash- 
and-burn shifting cultivation of the hill tribes) also 
various grasses occur till these are colonized by scrubs 
and then shrubs. It may be mentioned here that the 
jhum has greatly altered the original vegetation types all 
over Nagaland. 

Nagaland has been poorly covered by ornithological 
surveys. Publications on the area include Alexander 
(1974), Coltart (1902), Godwin-Austen (1872-1878), 
Hutchinson (1946), Koelz (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954), 
McCann (1931, 1933), Ripley (1951, 1952, 1953), and 
Stonor (1947). Recent publications are also few 
(Choudhury 1996, 1997a, b). General information on 
birds occurring in Nagaland is also found in synoptic 
works such as Ripley (1982),Ali and Ripley (1987) and 
Grimmett et al. (1998). 

Nagaland forms part of the Oriental Zoogeographic 
Region (now often called the Indomalayan Region). It 
is in the transitional zone of the Indian and Indochinese 
(zoogeographic) subregions, as a result of which a rich 






























92 


A. CHOUDHURY 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


bird life exists in this relatively small area. Nagaland is 
also part of a global biodiversity ‘hotspot’ (Myers 1988, 
1991) as well as an Endemic Bird Area, i.e. Eastern 
Himalaya (Stattersfield et al. 1998). In all, more than 
500 species are likely to occur in Nagaland (487are listed 
in the Appendix). 


METHODS 

Fieldwork was carried out in Nagaland in 1991, 1992, 
1996 and 2001 (January-Februaty) with brief visits to 
the fringe areas in 1987 and 1988. During the course of 
these visits, I covered Kohima (including Dimapur), 
Phek and Zunheboto districts, and the fringe areas of 
Mon and Mokokchung districts. 

During the study, the presence of different species 
of birds was ascertained by direct sighting, their calls 
(in some species only), and by interviewing local forest 
staff, villagers and hunters (for some conspicuous species 
only). For direct observation, foot transects along 
existing and newly cut paths, and trails, and vehicle 
transects along roads and motorable tracks were made. 
Preserved specimens in different villages and pet birds 
were also examined. There was regular sale of wild birds 
at Kohima market. Besides visiting the market in June 
1996 and January-February 2001,1 engaged members 
of a local non-governmental organization to photograph 
interesting or unusual species for records and future 
identification. All photos of birds referred to in the text 
were taken in 1997 and 1998 (except where mentioned 
otherwise). Observations were made with binoculars and 
a 10x46 telescope. Photographs were taken with a Canon 
T50 camera with a 200 mm lens and a Nikon FM2. 


RESULTS 

Selected species notes 

The following list incorporates the more interesting and 
significant records. An annotated checklist of all birds 
recorded so far in Nagaland is presented in the 
Appendix. The list includes 9 threatened, 5 Near 
Threatened and 8 restricted-range species. Of the total 
of 487 species recorded in the state 133 are reported 
here for the first time. Taxonomy and nomenclature 
follow Inskipp et al. (1996). 

Manipur Bush Quail Perdicula manipurensis Listed as 
Vulnerable (BirdLife 2000). Baker (1922-1930) and 
Ripley (1982) included Nagaland within its distribution, 
but without details. No recent records. 

Blyth’sTragopan Tragopan blythii Listed as Vulnerable 
(BirdLife 2000). Although rare in most of its range, it is 
still not uncommon in some pockets such as Satoi of 
Zunheboto district, Mt Japfu and Dzukou Valley of 
Kohima district, Fakim Sanctuary, Noklak and Saramati 
areas ofTuensang district. It is also found in Pulie-Badge 
Sanctuary, Mt Paona and almost the entire range of the 
Barails in Kohima district, Pfutsero area of Phek district 
and in the hilltop areas near the villages of Kilomi, 
Dzulhami, and Vishepu (spread over Zunheboto and 
Phek districts) (Choudhury 1997b). Although Ripley 
(1952) claimed that it did not occur in the eastern hills. 


it seems to be common in some places. A bird of higher 
elevation, it usually occurs above 1,800 m. I observed a 
female with 3-4 chicks at the exceptionally low altitude 
of 1,400 m, at the border of Kohima and Phek districts, 
on 30 June 1996. The exact location is 53 km from 
Kohima town and 5 km from Chetheba (Choudhury 
2000). Very rarely sold at the Kohima market. At least 
two males were on sale in 2000 (K. Sohe, pers. comm.). 
Locally, it is known as Ayigah (Serna Naga) and Mu 
(Angami Naga). Its current distribution in Nagaland 
has been mapped recently (Choudhury 1997b). 

Red Junglefowl G alius gallus Common throughout the 
state. Often killed by villagers for the pot. Frequently 
sold in the Kohima market. 

Mrs Hume’s Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae Listed as 
Vulnerable (BirdLife 2000). Only reported by Baker 
(1922-1930) but probably still occurs. During a recent 
survey in the Barail Range, between Kohima and Peren, 
no evidence of its occurrence was found and hunters 
questioned were not familiar with it. The only potential 
areas for the species are in the east, i.e. in Phek and 
Tuensang districts. 

Grey Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum Not 
uncommon in the forest, especially in the lower hills 
and adjacent plains. A freshly dead male on sale at Jalukie 
weekly market on 2 February 2001 was 70 cm in length, 
considerably larger than the 64 cm given by Ali and 
Ripley (1987) and Grimmett et al. (1998). It had 
conspicuous red facial skin - a feature not seen in all 
males. 

Lesser Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica Once 
common, now rare but widespread in small numbers. 
Mainly affects small wetlands near Intanki Wildlife 
Sanctuary, Jalukie-Samjuram areas and in the plains 
between Intanki and Dimapur. 

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea The only record 
was of four flying high over Dhansiri RF, Assam and 
into Intanki Sanctuary on 3 November 1991 .They were 
heading south/south-east indicating that Loktak lake, 
Manipur was their destination. 

White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata Listed as 
Endangered (BirdLife 2000). Extremely rare.The only 
recent report was from IntankiWildlife Sanctuary, where 
local hunters saw it two or three times in jungle pools in 
1990-1991 (Mr Ilo Disong, pers. comm). There were 
past records from Rangapahar Reserved Forest (RF) 
and adjacent lowland forests near Dimapur (Hume 
1890, Hutchinson 1946). Other areas where it may still 
survive are Singphan RF (Mon district) and in the forests 
near the border with Myanmar (Tuensang and Phek 
districts). 

Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Indicator xanthonotus 
Listed as NearThreatened (BirdLife 2000). A rare bird 
of the higher elevations. Ripley (1952) collected one near 
Pfutsero and it has been recently reported from Barail 
Range in Kohima district. 

Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis Once not uncommon, 
now extremely rare mostly due to persecution for food 
as well as feathers (primaries and tail), which are in great 
demand for use in traditional headgear. Habitat loss, 
especially the mature forest is also a major factor. These 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India 


93 


issues are common to all hornbills. Locally extinct at 
most places. The only notable remaining population is 
found in Intanki Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli Listed as Near 
threatened (BirdLife 2000). An uncommon bird. A few 
were observed in Khelma area near the Assam-Nagaland 
(Dhansiri RF-Intanki Sanctuary) border in February 
1992. Locally extinct in most areas. 

Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis Listed as 
Vulnerable (BirdLife 2000) . No recent records. Casques 
from birds killed in the Barail Range were seen in the 
North Cachar Hills district of Assam in 1989. The 
location is close to the Assam-Nagaland border and the 
habitat on the Barails is still contiguous. It was also 
reported by local hunters from the southern parts of 
Intanki Wildlife Sanctuary and from the Nagaland- 
Manipur border near Tening (south-western part of 
Kohima distict). Very rare. 

Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus Like other 
hornbills it was once not uncommon, but is now 
extremely rare and locally extinct in most places. The 
only notable remaining populations are found in Intanki 
Wildlife Sanctuary and in the unclassed forests in the 
Barail Range. I saw a casque at Samjuram village near 
Jalukie in Dimapur district in February 2001. Ripley 
(1952) obtained a specimen at Phek and observed it on 
the slopes of Japfu (Japvo). 

Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris Once 
common, now very rare. A photo was taken of a live 
captive bird. Most remaining birds are found in Intanki 
Wildlife Sanctuary and the unclassed forests in the Barail 
Range. A few are occasionally met with in Singphan RF 
of Mon district and stragglers have been noted 
elsewhere. 

The hornbills in general are locally known as agacho 
(Serna Naga) and terha (Angami Naga). 

Large FIawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioid.es A dead 
bird was on sale in Kohima market on 30 January 2001. 
It was a large specimen, measuring 40 cm in length, 
compared with 38 cm given by Grimmett et al. (1998). 
Winter records of this species are unusual (Ali and Ripley 
1987, Grimmett et al. 1998). 

Grass Owl Tyto capensis Uncommon. Photographed in 
Kohima market in 1997. There are very few recent 
records of the species from north-eastern India. 

Spot-bellied Eagle Owl Bubo nipalensis A bird from 
the Jakhama area was observed in the Kohima Zoo in 
June 1996 and it was still alive in January 2001. 
According to Hume (1888), Godwin-Austen obtained 
it in the Naga Hills, although the latter (1878) gave no 
details. 

Brown Wood Owl Strix leptogrammica Uncommon. 
Photographed in Kohima market in 1997. In 1950, 
Alexander (1974) saw two birds, which he thought were 
this species, between Meluri and Phek. 

Pale-capped Pigeon Columba putiicea Listed as 
Vulnerable (BirdLife 2000). No recent records and not 
recorded during the sample surveys at Kohima market, 
suggesting its relative scarcity. Ripley (1952) recorded 
a flock near Phek. 


Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes Sighted frequently in 
Dhansiri-Intanki areas. 

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus Rare. One was 
sighted on the way to Satoi on 28 June 1996, near 
Khesito village, at an elevation of c. 2,020 m (Choudhury 
1996).The species was previously recorded only below 
1,600 m in the Himalayas (Ali and Ripley 1987), apart 
from one seen in Sikkim at a slightly higher elevation 
(U. Ganguli-Lachhungpa, pers. comm.). 

White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis Listed as 
Critical (BirdLife 2000). In Nagaland they are very rare 
and are persecuted for food (their sheer weight makes 
them attractive, while their slow take-off makes killing 
easy). Mostly seen in flight along the Assam-Nagaland 
border. 

Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus Listed as Critical 
(BirdLife 2000). As in Gyps bengalensis. 

Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus A bird was on 
sale at Piphema roadside market on 1 February 2001. 
Its total length was 47 cm and other measurements were: 
wing 270 mm, tail 270 mm, bill 30 mm, and tarsus 75 
mm. Grimmett et al. (1998) and Kazmierczak and Perlo 
(2000) mapped it as absent from Nagaland. 

Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis Generally rare but 
reported to be common in the forested pockets. I 
observed one in the Satoi area of Zunheboto district at 
an elevation of 2,400 m, on 28 June 1996. 

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Uncommon. 
Photographed in Kohima market in 1997. One was seen 
in Dzukou Valley on 29 January 2001. Ripley (1952) 
collected a male of the race interstinctus at Kohima and 
noted that it was very common everywhere. 

White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis Listed as 
Endangered (BirdLife 2000). There are no recent 
records, but there is a specimen in the collection of the 
Bombay Natural History Society, which was obtained 
from Nagaland, perhaps from Dikhou River (Abdulali 
1968). 

Bi.ue-naped Pitta Pitta nipalensis Rare. Photographed 
in Kohima market in 1997. In 2001, I examined two 
birds, one each in Kohima market and Piphema roadside 
market on 30 January and 1 February, respectively. 

Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida I examined a photograph 
(taken by Thomas Kent) of a live bird captured near 
Kohima town at the end of 1999. Its status in Nagaland 
is unclear but in the adjacent North Cachar Hills district 
of Assam, it is not uncommon and is regularly caught 
during‘bird killing’nights at Jatinga (Choudhury 2000). 

Burmese Shrike Lanins collurioides Its seasonal status is 
not clear: it is a passage migrant but it could also be a 
resident with local movements. One was seen on the 
way to Satoi in Zunheboto district on 28 June 1996. It 
was photographed in Kohima market in 1997. 

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos Due to 
regular persecution this species has almost vanished 
from the vicinity of human habitations. One was 
observed between Sukhai village and Tizu river in 
Zunheboto district on 28 June 1996, above 1,000 m. A 
few were seen in Jalukie area on 1 and 2 February 2001. 





94 


A. CHOUDHURY 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul It was 
photographed in Kohima market in 1997. 

Purple Cochoa Cochoa purpurea A male was 
photographed in Kohima market in 1997. 

Green Cochoa Cochoa viridis It was photographed in 
Kohima market in 1997. 

Spot-winged Starling Saroglossa spiloptera A common 
winter visitor, especially abundant in some winters on 
the fringe of Intanki Sanctuary and Dhansiri RF (Assam) 
(Choudhury 1992c). 

Asian Pied Starling Sturnus contra A rare bird in 
Nagaland, mostly seen along the Assam-Nagaland 
border and in the Dimapur-Jalukie area. 

Bank Myna Acridotheres ginginianus One was seen near 
Dimapur on 27 May 1991. 

Yellow-throated Laughingthrush Garrulax galbanus 
Not uncommon. Many dead birds were seen at Kohima 
market and it was recorded in Phek and Zunheboto 
districts in June 1996. 

Striped Laughingthrush Garrulax virgatus A common 
resident. Some were seen at Kohima market in 1996 as 
well as in 2001. It was previously recorded by Godwin- 
Austen (1874a and b). 

Brown-capped Laughingthrush Garrulax austeni Not 
recorded during the sample surveys at Kohima market 
suggesting its relative scarcity. Ripley (1952) recorded 
the species only on Mt Japfu (Japvo) from 2,350-2,700 
m. 

Tawny-breasted Wren Babbler Spelaeornis longicaudatus 
Not seen during the field survey. Previously recorded 
from the state (Baker 1922-1930) and apparently very 
rare. 

Wedge-billed Wren Babbler Sphenocichla humei Listed 
as Near Threatened (BirdLife 2000). A very rare bird 
with only a handful of recent records from anywhere in 
its range. Photographed in Kohima market in 1997. 

Streak-throated Barwing Actinodura waldeni It was 
seen at Kohima market in 1996 and on 30 January 2001. 
Mixed parties of waldeni and other babblers were seen 
on the way to Satoi in Zunheboto district on 28 June 
1996. 

Yellow-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinerea A rare 
resident. It was seen on the way to Satoi, in Zunheboto 
district, on 28 June 1996, when at least one was 
confirmed in a mixed flock with other species. It was 
also doubtfully seen between Zulhami and Satakha, in 
Zunheboto district, on 27 June 1996. 

Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella Described by 
Godwin-Austen (1874) from specimens from Nagaland. 
An uncommon species, not recorded during the sample 
surveys at Kohima market, suggesting its relative scarcity. 

White-napedYuhina Yuhina baker: Resident and locally 
common. A few were seen between Kohima and 
Khonoma on the slopes of Pulie-Badze on 30 January 
2001. A photo was seen of a bird snared with glue in 
1999-2000 at Dzulekie village, south west of Khonoma. 
Dead birds were examined in Kohima market in 1996 
and 2001. 


House Sparrow Passer domesticusWe ry rare in'Nagaland; 
seen only in and around Dimapur. In the rest of the 
state, only the EurasianTree Sparrow P montanus occurs. 
Both are, however, sympatric in Dimapur area. 

Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus Generally rare but 
sightings were frequent in the countryside around 
Dimapur and on the north-eastern edge of Intanki 
Wildlife Sanctuary. Birds using the latter area nest at 
Monglumukh area of Dhansiri RF (Assam) in the safety 
of a police camp. 

Scarlet Finch Haematospiza sipahi Occurs in the higher 
hills. It was photographed in Kohima market in 1997. 


DISCUSSION 

Many parts of Nagaland have still not been adequately 
covered by ornithological surveys. Due to insurgent 
activities since the 1960s the area has not been 
considered suitable for wildlife investigations. However, 
there is now an urgent need to take up intensive baseline 
studies in areas such as Satoi, Saramati, Intanki, Fakim 
and Dzukou Valley. 

The current status in Nagaland of the globally 
threatened Manipur Bush Quail, White-bellied Heron, 
White-winged Duck, Mrs Hume’s Pheasant and Pale- 
capped Pigeon is unknown. 

The main threats faced by the forest birds are 
destruction of forest through felling of trees and jhum 
cultivation, while all species are threatened by poaching 
for food and also by local trade. The closed forest 
(canopy cover 40% and above) in Nagaland was 42.8% 
of the total geographical area in 1972-1975. By 1980- 
1982, it had been reduced to 29.8% (source: National 
Remote Sensing Agency); it was further reduced to 21 % 
by 1995 (source: State of Forest Report 1997) and to 
less than 20% by the year 2000. The consequence of 
large-scale deforestation is that the forest-dwelling 
species such as Blyth’sTragopan and the hornbills, are 
rapidly becoming scarcer. 

All species of birds are considered edible by the tribal 
groups inhabiting Nagaland.They are regularly shot with 
guns, trapped with the help of crude snares or killed 
with slingshot for food. But the commercial sale of birds 
in the local markets, including that of Kohima town, is 
the most serious current threat. However, for the cryptic 
and nocturnal birds, hunting does not represent a serious 
threat as the numbers involved are low. 

Many species are legally protected under Schedule I 
(highest protection accorded within India) of The Wild 
Life (Protection) Act of India, which prohibits their 
killing or capture, dead or alive. However, enforcement 
in the field is non-existent, even in the protected areas, 
and most people are unaware of this legal status. 

The existing protected area network in Nagaland 
covers very insignificant habitat (only 1.33% of the 
geographical area of the state). The protected areas (all 
wildlife sanctuaries) are: Intanki (202.02 km 2 ), Pulie- 
Badge (9.23 km 2 ), Fakim (6.42 km 2 ), and Rangapahar 
(4.70 km 2 ). Except for Intanki, all are tiny and hardly 
cover any sizeable habitat. Moreover, in the sanctuaries, 
the protection measures are very inadequate. 

Formation of new and larger protected areas such 
as Saramati-Fakim (500 km 2 ), Satoi (100 km 2 ), Barails 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India 


95 


(200 km 2 ; also encompassing within it Dzukou-Japfu 
areas), and Mt Zephu (50 km 2 ), and adequate protection 
to existing sanctuaries are recommended. Intanki should 
he upgraded to a national park. Sale of wild birds in 
Kohima market has declined to some extent during the 
summer months (when most birds breed), owing to a 
ban issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Kohima. 
This followed the motivation of a local NGO (People’s 
Group) and the subsequent pressure that was generated. 
Efforts are being made to extend it to a round-the-year 
ban. Such local groups should extend their activities to 
various other towns and villages as wild birds are still 
being sold illegally. The Forest Department should also 
start enforcing the Wild Life (Protection) Act, at least 
in the main markets. 


For help and assistance during field work, I would like to thank the 
following persons, M. I. Bora (D.C., Zunheboto), Akato Sema (EAC), 
Y. Lotha, and J. Jasokie of People’s Group NGO, S. Hukiye (GB of 
Zunheboto), Hakeem (driver), and Natwar Thakkar of Nagaland 
Gandhi Ashram. Special thanks are due to Khekiho Sohe and Thomas 
Kent, both of People’s Group NGO, for photographing some of the 
birds and small carnivores at my request, and accompanying me in 
some of the field sites. 


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Godwin-Austen, H. H. (1874b) Fourth list of birds principally from 
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Godwin-Austen, H. H. (1878) Sixth list of birds from the hill ranges 
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McCann, C. (1931) Courtship of the Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus 
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Me] 

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the Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta. 4, Alcedinidae (king¬ 
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Ripley, S. D. (1952) A collection of birds from the Naga Hills. J. Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J., andWege,-D. C. (1998) 

Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 50: 475-514. [ = R] Endemic Bird Areas of the world, priorities for biodiversity conserva- 

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Anwaruddin Choudhury, The Rhino Foundation in NE India, do The Assam Co., Bamunimaidam, Guwahati 781 021 
(Assam), India; email: badrul@sancharnet. in; badrul @sifi. com 

APPENDIX 

Checklist of birds recorded in Nagaland 

Species 

Status 

Abundance 

Previous records 

Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus 

R U 


Blue-breasted Quail Coturnix chinensis 

RU 

B 

*Manipur Bush Quail Perdicula manipurensis Vulnerable 

RV 

B, Ripl 

Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola 

R C 

B, ?Go 3 , Go 7 , H, R, Ri 

Rufous-throated Partridge Arborophila rufogularis 

R U 

A, H, R 

White-cheeked Partridge Arborophila atrogularis 

RC 


Mountain Bamboo Partridge Bambusicola fytchii 

R C 

A, H, R 

*Blyth’sTragopan Tragopan blythii Vulnerable 

R U 

A, B, Cho, H, R 

Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos 

RC 

A, R 

Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus 

R C 


Mrs Hume’s Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae Vulnerable 

RV 

B 

Grey Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum 

R C 

A 

Lesser Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica 

M U 


Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 

wv 


Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelianus 

RU 


White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata Endangered 

RV 

Hu 

Small Buttonquail Turnix sylvatica 

RC 

B, ?Go 3 

Yellow-legged Buttonquail Turnix tanki 

R, W U 

R 

Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Indicator xanthonotus Near Threatened 

RV 

R, Ri 

Speckled Piculet Picumnus innominatus 

RU 

R 

White-browed Piculet Sasia ochracea 

R U 

Koe, R 

Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus 

RC 

A, H, R 

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei 

RC 

R 

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker Dendrocopos hyperythrus 

RU 

Go 3 , R 

Darjeeling Woodpecker Dendrocopos darjellensis 

R U 

R, Ri 

Crimson-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos cathpharius 

RU 

B, Go 3 , R 

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major 

R U 

Ripl 

Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus 

RC 

R 

Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus 

R C 

A 

Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha 

R C 

A, A1 

Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus 


H 

Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus 

RC 

Ripl 

Himalayan Flameback Dinopium shorii 

R C 

Ripl 

Common Flameback Dinopium javanense 

R C 


Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus 

R C 


Pale-headed Woodpecker Gecinulus grantia 

R 

Ripl 

Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis 

R 

Go 3 , R 

Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus 

R 


Great Barbet Megalaima virens 

R C 

Al, B, R 

Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata 

R C 


Golden-throated Barbet Megalaima franklinii 

R C 

Al, R 

Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica 

RC 

Mu, R 

Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis 

R C 

A&R, Mu 

Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala 

R C 


Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis 

RU 

?Go 3 

Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli Near Threatened 

RU 


Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis Vulnerable 

RV 


Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus 

RU 

Al, R 





















































Forktail 17 (2001) 


Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India 


97 


Species 


Oriental Pied Hornbill Amhracoceros albirostris 
Common Hoopoe Upupa epops 

Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus _ 

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis 

Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis _ 

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis _ 

Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithacits _ 

Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis _ 

Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda 
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon sniyrnensis 
Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata 
Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris _ 

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis 

Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni _ 

Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis 
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus 
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti 
Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus 
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus 
Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides 
Common Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx varius 
Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax _ 

Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus 

Eurasian Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 

Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus _ 

Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus poliocephalus 

Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii 

Grey-bellied Cuckoo Cacomantis passerinus 

Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 

Asian Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx maculatus 

Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 

Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris 

Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea 

Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis _ 

Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis 
Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis 
Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis 
Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria _ 

Rose-Ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri 
Grey-headed Parakeet Psittacula finschii _ 

Blossom-headed Parakeet Psittacula roseata 
Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri _ 

Himalayan Swiftlet Collocalia brevirostris 
Silver-backed Needletail Hirundapus cochinchinensis 
Brown -backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus 
Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis _ 

Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus _ 

House Swift Apus affinis _ 

Barn Owl Tyto alba _ 

Grass Owl Tyto capensis _ 

Oriental Bay Owl Phodilus badius 

Mountain Scops Owl Outs spilocephalus _ 

Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia _ 

Collared Scops Owl Otus bakkamoena 

Eurasian Eagle O wl Bubo bubo 

Spot-bellied Eagle Owl Bubo nipalensis _ 

Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensis _ 

Tawny Fish Owl Ketupa flavipes _ 

Brown Wood Owl Strix leptogrammica 

Tawny Owl Strix aluco 

Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei _ 

Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides 

Spotted Owlet Athene brama _ 

Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata _ 

Hodgson’s Frogmouth Batrachostomus hodgsom _ 

Great Eared Nightjar Eurostopodus macrotis _ 

Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus 


Status Previous records 

Abundance 


R U 
R C 
R C 
R U 
R C 
R C 
R U 
R_LJ 

R U 
R U 
RC 


R U 
R U 
R C 
R C 
R,LU 
RC _ 

Bm 

R 

R, Bm 
R C 
R 

R, L C 
R(P), Bm 
Bm, R 
R, M 
R, L(?) C 
? but found 
R, M 
(R, L ?) 

(R, L ?) 

R or M 
R. L C 
R C 

R C _ 

RC 
R, L U 
R U _ 

RU_ 

RC _ 

R C _ 

RC_ 

R 

R 

JTL 

R 

W U _ 

R, LC 
R U _ 

RV 


R 

R 

R 


R U_ 

RU 

R U 

R 

R 

R. _ 

R, LC 
R C 
R C 
RV 
R, LC 

R, L C 


A1 

A, Al, R 


Ripl 


M&D, Ripl 


Go 9 , H, Ripl 
H 


Go 3 , R 

Ripl 


Ripl 

R 


Ripl 


Ripl 


Koe 


Ripl 


R 


Ripl 

Ripl 


R 


R 


H. 

A 


Ripl 

Koe 

R 

H 

A&R 
H _ 

Al 

Ripl 

?A1, Ripl 


Go 3 , R 

H, R 

Me 
?Go g ~ 

Ripl 

Go 3 
































































































98 


A. CHOUDHURY 


Forktail 17 (2001) 



Species 

Status 

Abundance 

Previous records 


Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus 

R, L 

K, R 


Speckled Wood Pigeon Columba hodgsonii 

RU 

Ripl 


Ashy Wood Pigeon Columba pulchricollis 

RU 

R 


Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea Vulnerable 

RV 

R 


Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orienta/is 

RC 

R 


Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 

RC 

R 


Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica 

R C 



Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 

RC 



Barred Cuckoo Dove Macropygia unchall 

RC 

R 


Emerald Dove Chalcophaps iudica 

R C 

R 


Orange-breasted Green Pigeon Treron bicincta 

RC 



Pompadour Green Pigeon Treron pompadora 

R C 



Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 

RC 



Yellow-legged Green Pigeon Treron phoenicoptera 

RC 

B 


Pin-tailed Green Pigeon Treron apicauda 

R, L C 

Ro 


Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon Treron sphenura 

R,LC 

R 


Green Imperlal Pigeon Ducula aenea 

R C 

Rip, Ro 


Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia 

R C 

R, Rip 


White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus 

R C 



Purple Swamphen Porphyria porphyria 

R U 



Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 

R C 



Euraslan Woodcock Scolopax rusticola 

W C 

Go 7 


Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura 

W C 



Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago 

W C 



Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 

W C 



Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 

W C 



Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 

W C 



Temmlnck’s Stint Calidris temminckii 

W C 



Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta 

W C 



Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 

W C 



Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 

R,LU 

R 


River Lapwing Vanellus duvauceli 

RU 



Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus 

R U 



River Tern Sterna aurantia 

M O 



Osprey Pandion haliaetus 

R, W U 



[Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni 


Recorded in Dhansiri RF, Assam, 
close to Intanki] 


Black B.aza Aviceda leuphotes 

R C 



Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus 

R U 

C 


Black Kite Milvus migrans 

R U 



Lesser Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga humilis Near Threatened 

RU 

Go' 


White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis Critically Endangered 

O 



Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris Critically Endangered 

O 



Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis 

W U 



Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus 

RU 



Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela 

R C 



Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos 

W U 



Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus 

R 

B, ?H 


Shikra Accipiter badius 

R C 

Go 7 , R 


Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 

R 



Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis 

RU 

A1 


Rufous-bellied Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii 

RU 

Go 3 


Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus 

R C 



Pied Falconet Microhierax melanoleucos 

RU 



Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni 

W P? 

Go 7 


Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 

W C 

R 


Oriental Darter Anhinga m. melanogaster NearThreatened 

R U 



Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger 

R U 



Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 

LU 

R 


Little Egret Egretta garzetta 

R U 



White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis Endangered 

R O 

A, An 


Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia 

R U 



Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 

RU 

R 


Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii 

RU 



Little Heron Butorides striatus 

R C 



Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 

RU 

* 


Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus 

R U 

Ripl 


Aslan Openbill Anastomus oscitans 

M O 

R 









































































Forktail 17 (2001) 


Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India 


99 


Species 

Status 

Abundance 

Previous records 

Blue-naped Pitta Pitta nipalensis 

R L 


Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida 

R(?) L 


Silver-breasted Broadbill Serilophus lunatus 

R U 

R 

Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae 

R, L C 

R 

Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella 

R,LC 

Al, Ripl 

Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis 

R C 


Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons 

R C 


Orange-bellied Leafbird Chloropsis hardwickii 

R U 

A, Al, R 

Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 

W C 

Ripl 

Burmese Shrike Lanius collurioides 

R, L, P U 

?Ripl 

Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach 

W C 


Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus 

W C 


Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius 

R U 

Al, R 

Red-billed Blue Magpie LJrocissa erythrorhyncha 

RU 

B, Go’ 

Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis 

R C 

R 

Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda 

R C 


GreyTreepie Dendrocitta formosae 

R, L C 

R 

Collared T reepie Dendrocitta frontalis 

RU 


House Crow Corvus splendens 

O 


Large -billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 

R U 

Go 3 

Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fitscus 

R C 

A&R 

BlacktNaped Oriole Oriolus chinensis 

W S 


Slender-billed Oriole Oriolus tenuirostris 

R U 

A&R 

Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus 

R C 


Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii 

R C 

R 

Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei 

R C 

Al 

Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos 

R L 

H, R 

Rosy Minivet Pericrocotus roseus 

R L 

R 

Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus 

R U 

A&R 

Grey-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus Solaris 

R 

R 

Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus 

R 

R 

Short-billed Minivet Pericrocotus brevirostris 

R, LU 

R 

Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus 

R C 

M, R 

Bar-wtnged Flycatcher-Shrike Hemipus picatus 

R 

Al, R 

Yellow-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hypoxantha 

R,LC 

R 

White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis 

R C 

A, R 

Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus 

R C 

R 

Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus 

R C 

D 

Crow-Billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans 

R,L 


Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus 

R C 

Al, R 

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer 

R C 


Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus 

R C 


Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus 

R C 

R 

Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea 

R, L C 

?A&R 

Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi 

R, LU 

A&R, Go 3 , H 

Common I ora Aegithina tiphia 

R C 


Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis (syn. virgatus) 

R 

R 

Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii 

R U 

R 

Blue-capped Rock Thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus 

Bm, W C 

Ripl 

Chestnut-bellied Rock T hrush Monticola rufiventris 

R,L C 

Al, R 

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius 

W C 


Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus 

R, L C 

H, Ripl 

Pied Thrush Zoothera wardii 

W ? 

B 

Long-tailed Thrush Zoothera dixoni 

W 

R 

Scaly Thrush Zoothera daunt a 

R, L, W 

R 

Dark-sided Thrush Zoothera marginata 

R? 

Koe 

Black-breasted Thrush Turdus dissimilis 

R,L C 

B, R 

White-collared Blackbird Turdus albocinctus 

O 

B, Ripl 

Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul 

R,W C 

A&R 

Grey-sidedThrush Turdusfeae 

w u 

Go 3 , O 

Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus 

w c 

R 

Dark-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis 

w 

Ripl 

DuskyThrush Turdus naumanni 

w s 

Go 3 

White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx montana 

R,LC 

B 

[Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra 


Ripl but see He] 

Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea 


K 

Slaty-backed Flycatcher Ficedula hodgsonii 

R, LU 

B,Go 3 , R 

Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata 

R U 

R 































































































100 


A. CHOUDHURY 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Species 

Status 

Abundance 

Previous records 

Red-throated Flycatcher Ficedula parva 

W C 

R 

White-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula monileger 

RU 

R 

Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra 

R, LU 

H, R 

Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni 

L C 

Go 3 , R 

Ultramarine Flycatcher Ficedula superciliaris 

Bm, RU 

A, Go 3 , Go 7 

Slaty-blue Flycatcher Ficedula tricolor 

RW L 

Ripl 

Sapphire Flycatcher Ficedula sapphira 

R,W U 

R 

Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina 

W C 

R 

Large Niltava Niltava grandis 

R, L C 

A, ?H 

Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae 

R, LC 

R 

Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara 

R,LC 


Vivid Niltava Niltava vivida 


Al, H, ?Ripl 

White-tailed Flycatcher Cyornis concretus 


?A1 

Pale-chinned Flycatcher Cyornis poliogenys 

R C 

Ripl 

Pale Blue Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor 

R? C 

A&R, H 

Blue-throated Flycatcher Cyornis rubeculoides 


A&R 

Hill Blue Flycatcher Cyornis banyumas 


Ripl 

Pygmy Blue Flycatcher Muscicapella hodgsoni 


Go 

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis 

R, W C 

Al, R 

Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope 

W U 

R 

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica 

W C 


Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea 


Koe 

Orange-flanked Bush Robin Tarsiger cyanurus 

WV 

R 

Golden Bush Robin Tarsiger chrysaeus 

R, W 

A, H, R 

White-browed Bush Robin Tarsiger indicus 

R, W U 

R 

Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis 

R C 


White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus 

R C 


Hodgson’s Redstart Phoenicurus hodgsoni 

W C 

Go 7 , R 

Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus 

W C 

Go 3 

Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis 

W 

A, Al, R 

White-capped Water Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus 

R, W C 

A 

Plumbeous Water Redstart Rhyacornis fuliginosus 

R, W C 


White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura 

R, W C 

Koe, R 

Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri 

R, LU 

A&R, H 

Black-backed Forktail Enicurus immaculatus 

RC 

Al, A&R 

Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus 

R, LC 

A&R, H 

White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti 

R, LU 

A&R, H 

Spotted Forktail Enicurus maculatus 

R, LC 

R 

Purple Cochoa Cochoa purpurea 

RU 


Green Cochoa Cochoa viridis 

RU 

Ripl 

Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata 

W, R C 

R 

Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata 

M, RC 

Ripl 

Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferrea 

R L C 

A, Al, R 

Spot-winged Starling Saroglossa spiloptera 

W C 


Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus 

R C 

K 

Asian Pied Starling Sturnus contra 

RU 

Ripl 

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis 

R C 


Bank Myna Acridotheres ginginianus 

M S 


Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus 

R C 

Ripl 

White-vented Myna Acridotheres cinereus 

R U 

Ripl 

Hill Myna Gracula religiosa 

R C 

A&R 

Chestnut-vented Nuthatch Sitta nagaensis 

R 

Go 3 , Go 3 , R 

Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea 

RC 

V 

White-tailed Nuthatch Sitta himalayensis 

RW 

Ko, R 

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis 

R C 

R 

Brown-throated Treecreeper Certhia discolor 

R 

B, Go 7 , R 

Rusty-flanked Treecreeper Certhia nipalensis 

? 

Go 3 

Rufous-vented Tit Parus rubidiventris 

RW 

Ripl, Riple 

Great Tit Parus major 

R C 

Ripl 

Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus 

RW 

A, Go 3 , R 

Yellow-cheeked Tit Parus spilonotus 

R C 

R 

Yellow-browed Tit Sylviparus modestus 

R, LU 

Go 3 , R 

Sultan Tit Melanochlora sultanea 

R C 

R 

Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus 

R C 

B, Go 3 , R 

Sand Martin Riparia riparia 

R L 


Plain Martin Riparia paludicola 

R L 


Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 

R, W C 

Go 3 , H 

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica 

RW 










































































Forktail 17 (2001) 


Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India 


101 


Species 


Status 

Abundance 

Previous records 

Striated Swallow Hirundo striolata 


RW 

R 

Nepal House Martin Delichon nipalensis 


R L 

H, Ripl 

Crested Finchbill Spizixos canifrons 


R L 

Al, B, R 

Striated Bulbul Pycnonotus striatus 


RC 

A, Al, R 

Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps 


R 

A&R 

Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus 


RC 

A, R 

Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus 


RC 

H, R 

Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer 


R C 

B, R 

Flavescent Bulbul Pycnonotus flavescens 


R 

B, R 

White-throated Bulbul Alophoixus flaveolus 


R, L C 

K 

Ashy Bulbul Hemixos flavala 


R C 

A, R 

Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii 


R 

A, R 

Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus 


R, LC 

R 

Striated Prinia Prinia criniger 


R,LC 

B 

Hill Prinia Prinia atrogularis 


R, LC 

H, R 

Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens 


RC 

Ba, R 

Grey-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii 


R C 

Go 2 , Go 3 , R 

Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris 



A&R 

Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis 



?H 

Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus 


RC 

Al, R 

Chestnut-HeadedTesia Tesia casteneocoronata 


R? W 

?A1, B 

Slaty-belliedTesia Tesia olivea 


R L 

?A1 

Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler Cettia fortipes 


RW 

?A1, Go 3 , R 

Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler Cettia major 



Ripl 

Aberrant Bush Warbler Cettia flavolivacea 


W U 

R, Ri 

Brown Bush Warbler Bradypterus luteoventris 


L C 

Ripl 

Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola 


W C 


Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus 


R U 

R 

CommonTailorbird Orthotomus sutorius 


RC 

R 

Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis 


R U 

H, K 

Buff-barred Warbler Phylloscopus pulcher 


W 

Go 3 , R 

Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis 


RC 

R 

Lemon-rumped Warbler Phylloscopus chloronotus 


R, LW 

Al, H, R 

Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus 


RW 

Al, R 

Hume’s Warbler Phylloscopus humei 



R 

Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides 



Ripl 

Blyth’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides 


W 

R 

Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator 



Al 

Grey-crowned Warbler Seicercus tephrocephalus 


RW 

A, R 

Grey-hooded Warbler Seicercus xanthoschistos 


R, LC 

Al, R 

White-spectacled Warbler Seicercus affinis 


R, L 

Al, ?Go’, R 

Grey-cheeked Warbler Seicercus poliogenys 


R, L 


Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps 


R, L 

Al, Go 3 , Ko, R 

Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris 


R, LC 

Ripl 

Striated Grassbird Megalurus palustris 


R C 


White-crested Laughingthrush Garrulax leucolophus 


R C 

A, R,T 

Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax monileger 


R C 

Ripl 

Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax pectoralis 


R C 

R 

Rufous-necked Laughingthrush Garrulax ruficollis 


RC 

Al, R 

Striated Laughingthrush Garrulax striatus 


R C 

Ripl 

Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush Garrulax nuchalis 


R C 

Co, Go 6 , Go 6 

Yellow-throated Laughingthrush Garrulax galbanus 


R C 

R 

Rufous-vented Laughingthrush Garrulax gularis 


R C 

A, R 

Moustached Laughingthrush Garrulax cineraceus 


R, LC 

A, B,?H, R 

Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush Garrulax rufogularis 


R, LC 

R 

Grey-sided Laughingthrush Garrulax caerulatus 


R, LC 

Go 3 , Koel, R 

Spot-breasted Laughingthrush Garrulax merulinus 


R C 

Al, Ripl 

White-browed Laughingthrush Garrulax sannio 


R U 

R 

*Striped Laughingthrush Garrulax virgatus 


R 

B, Go 2 , Go 3 

*Brown-capped Laughingthrush Garrulax austeni 


R U 

B, R 

Blue-winged Laughingthrush Garrulax squamatus 


R U 

Al, H, Ripl 

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax erythrocephalus 


R,LU 

A, Al, B, R 

Red-faced Liocichla Liocichla phoenicea 


R, LC 

A, Al, R 

Abbott’s Babbler Trichastoma abbotti 


R C 

Koe 

Spot-throated Babbler Pellorneum albiventre 


R, LC 

Go 8 , Go 6 , R 

Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps 


R C 

R 

Large Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus hypoleucos 


R C 

H, Ripl 

Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus erythrocnemis 


RC 

Go 3 , R 













































































































102 


A. CHOUDHURY 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Species 

Status 

Abundance 

Previous records 


White-browed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps 

R C 

Ripl 


Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus ruficollis 

R, W C 

Go 3 , R 


Red-billed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus ochraceiceps 

R 

A, B, R 


Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus ferruginosus 

R C 

A, ?H, Ripl 


Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler Xiphirhynchus superciliaris 

R, W, L 

B, Ripl 


Eye-browed Wren Babbler Napothera epilepidota 

R, L C 

B, Ripl 


Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler Pnoepyga albiventer 

R, LU 

K, R 


Pygmy Wren Babbler Pnoepyga pusilla 

R, LC 

Al, R 


Spotted Wren Babbler Spelaeornis formosus 

R U 

Ripl 


Long-tailed Wren Babbler Spelaeornis chocolatinus 

R C 

R, Ri 


*Tawny-breasted Wren Babbler Spelaeornis longicaudatus 

R 

B 


* Wedge-billed Wren Babbler Sphenocichla kumei 

Near Threatened R, L U B, Ripl 


Rufous-fronted Babbler Stachyris rufifrons 

R C 

Ripl 


Rufous-capped Babbler Stachyris ruficeps 

R, L C 

K, R 


Golden Babbler Stachyris chrysaea 

R C 

Al, R 


Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris mgriceps 

R C 

R 


Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularis 

R 



Chestnut-capped Babbler Timalia pileata 

R C 

R 


Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense 

R 



Jerdon’s Babbler Chrysomma altirostre 

RV 

Ripl 


Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris 

R C 

A, Al, H, R 


Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea 

R 

Ripl 


Cutia Cutia nipalensis 

RU 

K, R 


Black-headed Shrike Babbler Pteruthius rufiventer 


B, H, R 


White-browed Shrike Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis 

RU 



Green Shrike Babbler Pteruthius xanthochlorus 


Ripl 


Black-eared Shrike Babbler Pteruthius melartotis 

R, W U 

Koe, R 


White-hooded Babbler Gampsorhynchus rufulus 

R U 

K, R 


Rusty-fronted Barwing Actinodura egertoni 

R C 

A, Al, K, R 


*Streak-throated Barwing Actinodura waldeni 

R 

A, Al, B, Go 3 , Go 3 , R 


Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera 

R, W C 

A, Al, R 


Chestnut-tailed Minla Minla strigula 

L, W U 

A, R 


Red-tailed Minla Minla ignotincta 

R C 

A, B, Go 3 , R 


Golden-breasted Fulvetta Alcippe chrysotis 

R U 

H, Ripl 


Yellow-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinerea 

R U 



Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaneceps 

R C 

R 


White-browed Fulvetta AIcippe vinipectus 

R U 

B, Go 3 , Og, R 


Streak-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinereiceps 

R 

R 


Rufous-throated Fulvetta Alcippe rufogularis 

R 



Rusty-capped Fulvetta Alcippe dubia 

R C 

Al, Go 5 , Go 7 , R 


Brown-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe poioicephala 

R C 

Al, Go 7 


Nepal Fulvetta Alcippe nipalensis 

R, L C 

A, Al, R 


Rufous-backed Sibia Heterophasia annectans 

R U 

Ripl 


Grey Sibia Heterophasia gracilis 

R C 

A, Al, H, R 


Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella 

RU 

A, B, Go 3 , Go 4 , R 


Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides 

R,L 

H, Ripl 


Striated Yuhina Yuhina castaniceps 

R C 

B, Go 3 , R 


*White-napedYuhina Yuhina bakeri 

R 



Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis 

R, W C 

Al, R 


Stripe-throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis 

w u 

R 


Black-chinned Yuhina Yuhina nigrimenta 

R C 

Al, Go 3 , R 


White-belliedYuhina Yuhina zantholeuca 

R U 

R 


Grey-headed Parrotbill Paradoxornis gularis 

RU 

Ripl 


Spot-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis guttaticollis 

R 

Go 3 , H, R 


Black-throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis nipalensis 

R 

B, Go 7 , R 


Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill Paradoxornis atrosuperciliaris 

RU 

Go 3 , Ripl 


Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill Paradoxornis ruficeps 

R U 

Al, R 


Rufous-winged Bush Lark Mirafra assamica 

R C 



Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 

R, W, L 



Thick-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile 


R 


Yellow-vented Flowerpecker Dicaeum chrysorrheum 

RC 

Go 3 , H, R 


Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum melanoxanthum 

RU 

Go 3 


Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor 

R C 

H, R 


Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus 

R, L C 

R 


Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum 

R C 



Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Anthreptes singalensis 

RU 

Ripl 


Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica 

R 



Mrs Gould’s Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae 

R, L, W U 

B, Go', R 










































































Forktail 17 (2001) 


Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India 


103 


Species 

Status 

Abundance 

Previous records 

Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis 

R, L 

R 

Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata 

R, L,W 

A, R 

Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja 

R, LC 

B, R 

Fire-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga ignicauda 

R, LC 

Go 5 , R 

Little Spiderhunter Avachnothera longirostra 

R C 


Streaked Spiderhunter Arachtiothera magna 

R, LC 

Al, R 

House Sparrow Passer domesticus 

R U 


Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans 

R, W U 

R 

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 

RC 


Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus 


Ripl 

White Wagtail Motacilla alba 

W C 

H, R 

Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola 

W C 


Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 

W C 


Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 

W C 

A&R, H 

Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus 

R C 


Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni 

W C 

R 

Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus 


A&R 

Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus 

R, LU 


White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata 

R C 

R 

Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata 

R C 

R 

Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacca 

R C 


Yellow-breasted Greenfinch Carduelis spinoides 

R, W 

R, Ripl 

Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 

W 

Al 

Scarlet Finch Haematospiza sipahi 

R, LU 


Brown Bullfinch Pyrrhula nipalensis 

R U 

Ripl 

Spot-winged Grosbeak Mycerobas melanozanthos 

R, LU 

K 

Crested Bunting Melophus lathami 

R, W C 

B, Ripl 

Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata 

W C 

Go 3 , H 

Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla 

W C 

H, R 

Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala 

W 

R 


* indicates a restricted-range species (Stattersfield ei al. 1998) 

Status: R = resident; W = winter visitor; L = local movement; M = migrant; Bm = breeding migrant; P = passage migrant 
Abundance: C = common; U = uncommon; O = occasional; V = very rare; S = stray 

















































FORKTAIL 17 (2001): 105-108 


First breeding record of the Upland Buzzard 
Buteo hemilasius for the Indian subcontinent in 
Changthang, Ladakh, and identification characters 
of Upland Buzzard and Long-legged Buzzard 

Buteo rufinus 

RISHAD NAOROJI and DICK FORSMAN 


This paper presents the first breeding records of Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius for the Indian 
subcontinent, in Ladakh. One nest was found in 1998, and two nests containing near fully fledged 
young were observed in 1999. Identification characters to aid the separation of Upland Buzzard 
and Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus are also presented. 


INTRODUCTION 

Breeding of the Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius has 
long been suspected to occur in the Tibetan facies of 
the Himalaya from Kashmir to Sikkim (Jerdon 1862, 
Donald 1920, Baker 1928, 1935, Ripley 1982, Inskipp 
andlnskipp 1991, Grimmett era/. 1998). Ali and Ripley 
(1978), and the above mentioned sources, describe the 
Upland Buzzard as a rare winter visitor to the Himalaya 
(Kashmir to Bhutan and Punjab), while Roberts (1991) 
excludes its occurrence from Pakistan. The Upland 
Buzzard’s main breeding range comprises the Central 
Asian highlands from eastern Tien Shan and Altai, east 
through southern Siberia and Mongolia to western 
Manchuria south to central China, and south to 
southernTibet. Its breeding habitat throughout its range 
comprises open steppe, dry grassy areas, plateaus and 
wide valleys with rocky areas for breeding at altitudes 
over 5,000 m, or mountainous country (Dementiev et 
al. 1966, Thiollay 1994). It winters in the Himalaya, 
eastern China and Korea. Circumstantial evidence of 
breeding in the Indian subcontinent has been recorded 
through sight records and unidentified buzzards at two 
nests during June/July in Nepal at 4,050 and 3,900 m, 
but hampered by possible confusion with Long-legged 
Buzzard Buteo rufinus (Inskipp and Inskipp 1991). 
Breeding throughout its range, including Ladakh, 
extends mainly from April to July. The species usually 
nests on overhanging ledges and in crevices on crags or 
steep rocky outcrops (Dementiev et al. 1966, Brown and 
Amadon 1968,Thiollay 1994). This paper gives details 
of the first confirmed breeding records of the species 
for the Indian subcontinent, made during surveys by 
RN. 

BREEDING RECORDS 

The Changthang, literally meaning Northern Plain, lies 
in the north-eastern region of Ladakh. It is a high 
altitude, cold desert plateau, ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 
m, geographically contiguous with the Tibetan Plateau 
of the same name. The Changthang fauna has a closer 
affinity to Tibet than the rest of Ladakh. The Upland 
Buzzard was sighted in Changthang on seven occasions 
over two surveys in September 1997 and June 1998. 
The identity of a breeding pair at Hanle in Changthang 


in June 1998 was confirmed by DF from photographs 
taken by RN. The nest was inspected and observed for 
three hours. In July 1999 seven sightings (including two 
nests) were recorded. The species was seen around 
Chushul, between Chushul and Hanle, at Lai Pahari 
and Rongo (Hanle valley) and in the immediate vicinity 
of Hanle, at Puga and Tso Kar, where habitat comprised 
a mix of marshy plain and steep rocky outcrops (Fig. 
1). A report by Pfister (1999) of the complete leg of an 
Upland Buzzard recovered from an extremely large pellet 
of an Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo at Lai Pahari 
supports my observations. It was also seen along green 
fertile river valleys and marshes near Chang-pa dwellings 
and alongside mixed domestic herds perched on the 
ground adjacent to rodent burrows. It mainly hunts 
from vantage perches on rocky mounds or outcrops 
(which afford a wide view), swooping directly onto prey. 

No other buzzard species was observed during the 
surveys. Breeding was confirmed on 22 June 1998 near 
Ponguk village, Hanle. In 1999 active nests were 
observed at Hanle on 23 July and at Puga on 25 July; 
both nests contained a single almost fully fledged young. 
A nest located in mid-July at Puga by Gole (1978) 
ascribed to the Long-legged Buzzard was most likely 
that of the Upland Buzzard. The nest at Ponguk village, 
Hanle, was in a huge crevice below the topmost ridge of 
an overhanging rock. It was lined with twigs of Caragana 
versicolor , grass, and a wide array of available man-made 
items, among which were cotton, woollen rags, plastic 
coated cables and strands of manila rope. Rocks below 
the nest were liberally spattered with the bird’s chalk- 
white droppings. The nest contained two, greyish downy 
young, observed on 22 June. The other nest at Hanle 
(near the monastery) and the one at Puga were on low, 
more accessible rocky outcrops; at these sites the 
nestledges were much smaller. In Ladakh, prey remains 
of woolly hare Lepus oiostolus, pika Ochotona and rodents 
such as voles and mice, among unidentified items, were 
found littered below the nests. Prolonged observations 
were not possible. 

IDENTIFICATION 

The Long-legged Buzzard and the Upland Buzzard form 
a superspecies with partially overlapping breeding ranges 
in the Central Asian highlands (Thiollay 1994). 





106 


R. NAOROJI & D. FORSMAN 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Although the Upland Buzzard is mostly confined to 
higher ground, it does descend to lower altitudes for 
the winter (Dementiev et al. 1966). The field 
identification of the species has been covered by 
Dementiev et al. (1966), Brown and Amadon (1968) 
and Morioka et al. (1998), but separation of the two 
remains problematic. Dark birds of both species have 
blackish brown body feathers, and the remiges and 
rectrices show broader barring than in paler individuals. 
The tail barring can be very similar in the two species. 
The dark morph birds (one dark individual was seen 
twice at Lai Pahari) are perhaps best identified by non¬ 
plumage characters, such as the extent of tarsal 
feathering or general bulkiness. Table 1 attempts to 
highlight the most obvious and reliable differences 
between the two species, characters which enable the 
species to be separated in most cases. However, we are 
not familiar with the entire spectrum of individual 
variation in these variable species, and there are probably 
individuals which cannot be identified using the 
characters described. 

The main plumage differences between the species 
are to be found in the following feather tracts, which 


should be carefully studied; dorsally: uppertail and 
upperwing-coverts and primaries; ventrally: head and 
upper breast, belly, flanks, tibial feathering (‘trousers’ 
or ‘leggings’), underwing-coverts and remiges. Other 
differences include general shape in flight and extent of 
tarsal feathering (best seen when perched). 

Accurate buzzard identification would undoubtedly 
help in understanding the distribution and status of 
buzzards in the Indian subcontinent. The Upland 
Buzzard could well be breeding in high altitude areas of 
the Himalaya, besides Ladakh, from Garhwal to Bhutan, 
wherever there is habitat reminiscent ofTibetan facies. 
Its global status is poorly known and good field 
identification characters need to be published to 
facilitate separation from other buzzards. 


RN thanks the Forest Department Jammu & Kashmir specifically 
Chief Wildlife Wardens Shri P. C. Kapoor and Shri S. N. 
Naqashbandi. Mr.Nasier Ritchloo, Wildlife Warden, Leh, who kindly 
provided assistance. He is grateful to the Army for providing facili¬ 
ties: firstly Chief of Army Staff General Ved Prakash Malik, PVSM, 
AVSM, ADC for taking a personal interest in the project, and spe¬ 
cially thanks Maj. General V. S. Budhwar, VSM, General Officer 



Figure 1. Map of Changthang, Ladakh 








Forktail 17 (2001) 


First breeding record of Upland Buzzard for the Indian subcontinent 


107 



Almost fledged young at nest. Hanle, Ladakh, July, 1999. 
Rishad Naoroji. 


Dark morph adult. Difficult to separate from 
dark morph of Long-legged Buzzard. 

Tibet/ China, May, 1996. Markku Saarinen. 




Possibly 3 rd calendar year (second summer) immature? Eyes 
not as dark as in full adult and tail more strongly banded 
tail than in full adult.Tibet/ China, May/June, 1996.Tom 
Lindroos. 



Possibly 3 rd calendar year (second summer) immature? 
Note tail barring, which is typically of this species largely 
confined to outer tail. 

Tibet/China. 31 May, 1996. Hannu Kormano. 



Adult. Note pale breast band, heavily marked underwing-coverts (rufous with some transversal bars) and dark carpal patches, 
and dark flanks and dark thighs often appear as a narrow dark ‘U’ on belly. At close quarters coarse barring visible on flight- 
feathers. Buffy tail shows variable rufous smudges towards tip. Tibet/China. May/June 1996. Tom Lindroos. 

















108 


R. NAOROJI & D. FORSMAN 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


Table 1 . Identification characters of Upland and Long-legged Buzzards 


Character 

Upland Buzzard 

Long-legged Buzzard 

Tail pattern 

Barring on average broader and sparser. 

Feathers not uniformly coloured but showing 
distally brownish, greyish or orange tips 
and edges, while feather centres and bases 
are mostly white. 

In some individuals uniformly white with 
orange distal parts. Barring on average finer, 
denser and less distinct, either over entire 
length of feather (juveniles) or showing just 
a few bars near tip (sub-adults and adults). 

Head and throat 
/foreneck 

Mostly darker and more heavily patterned than 
upper breast. Dark malar stripe mostly obvious. 

Mostly pale and not contrasting with upper 
breast. 

Pectoral band 

Pale and mostly distinct, contrasting sharply 
with darker bib of upper breast and darker flanks. 

Usually no obvious pectoral band (merges 
with pale upper breast). 

Belly 

Central belly mostly pale. 

Central belly mostly dark. 

Flanks 

Appears dark, with distinct dark barring in 
adults (juveniles?). 

Dark, either uniformly coloured or spotted / 
streaked, but not distinctly barred. 

Lesser underwing- 
coverts 

Mostly darker than rest of underwing coverts 
creating dark patagium, like in Common 

B. buteo and Steppe Buzzard B. buteo vulpinus. 

Similar in colour and pattern as rest of 
underwing coverts. 

Remiges from below 

Barring distinct and broader. 

Barring less distinct and finer. 

Lesser and median 
upperwing-coverts 

Greyish brown, general appearance dark. 

Sandy brown to orange with dark centres, 
general appearance pale. 

Wingflash on 
primaries above 

Wide and white. In juvenile pure white and 
unbarred (only fingers and trailing edge dark), 
in adult white flash variable in size and showing 
dark barring and prominent black trailing edge. 

In juveniles wider and whiter than in adults, but 
mostly smaller than in Upland Buzzard, mostly 
also either barred or mixed with some brown. 

In adult greyish with darker bars, sometimes some 
whitish towards leading edge of wing; dark trailing 
edge not as black as in adult Upland Buzzard. 

Tibial feathering 
(leggings / trousers) 

Dark, often the darkest tract on the entire 
underparts. 

Mostly dark, but rarely the darkest area, usually 
merging with darkish belly. 

Tarsal feathering 

Tarsi feathered, often completely, but at least 
for 2/3 of length. 

Tarsi appear bare (only upper 1/3 feathered, 
hidden under leggings). 

Flight silhouette 

Adult appears shorter-tailed and broader-winged 
and hence bulkier and heavier than adult Long- 
legged. (Differences between juveniles not studied). 

Adult appears lighter built than adult Upland 
owing to narrower wings and longer tail. (Differences 
between juveniles not studied). 


Commanding and Col. S. P. Tanwar (Colonel Administration). 
Ladakh scouts viz. Lance Naik Tsering Nurboo, Naik Tsering 
Angchok Togochay, Sep. Sonam Dorjey Jugnes were invaluable in 
the field. The ITBP Commanding Officer 21 Battalion Sonam Paljor 
provided facilities at Hanle. Wangchuk Shali helped out in many 
ways. Lance Naik Tsering Dorje (ITBP) and Tsering Tashi pro¬ 
vided able field assistance. Shantanu Kumar I. G. BSF organized 
the 1997 survey. Harkirat Sangha and Maan Barua were field com¬ 
panions during the 1999 survey. Ashok Jaitely, Chief Secretary Jammu 
& Kashmir and Tejbir Singh helped out in many ways. Drs Asad 
Rahmani and T. J. Roberts commented on earlier drafts. DF thanks 
Hannu Kormano, Tom Lindroos and Markku Saarinen for gener¬ 
ously lending him photographs for reference and publication. 


REFERENCES 

Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D. (1978) Handbook of the birds of India & 
Pakistan, 1. Second edition. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 

Baker, E. C. S. (1928) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and 
Burma, 5. Second edition. London:Taylor and Francis. 

Baker, E. C. S. (1935) The nidification of the birds of the Indian Em¬ 
pire, 4. London: Taylor and Francis. 

Brown, L. H. and Amadon, D. (1968) Eagles, hawks and falcons of the 
world. London: Country Life Books. 


Dementiev, G. P., Gladkov, N. A., Ptushenko, E. S., Spangenberg, E. 
P. and Sudilovskaya, E. M. (1966) Birds of the Soviet Union. Vol¬ 
ume 1. Jerusalem: Israel Program for Scientific Translations. 
Donald, C. H. (1920) The birds of prey of the Punjab, Part IV. J. 

Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 26: 1000-1020. 

Gole, P. (1978) A buzzard nest in Ladakh. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 
75: 213-214. 

Grimmett, R., Inskipp, C. and Inskipp,T. (1998) Birds of the Indian 
subcontinent. Bombay: Oxford University Press. 

Inskipp, C. and Inskipp,T. (1991) A guide to the birds of Nepal. Sec¬ 
ond edition. London: Christopher Flelm. 

Jerdon,T. C. (1862) The birds of India, 1. Calcutta: published by the 
author. 

Morioka,T.,Yamagata, N., Kanouchi,T. and Kawata,T. (1998) [The 
birds of prey of Japan.] Second edition. Tokyo: Bun-ichi Sogo 
Shuppan. (In Japanese.) 

Pfister, O. (1999) Owls in Ladakh. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 29: 
22-28. 

Ripley, S. D. (1982) A synopsis of the birds of India and Pakistan to¬ 
gether with those of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 
Second Edition. Bombay: Bombay Natural History Society. 
Roberts, T. J. (1991) The birds of Pakistan, 1. Karachi: Oxford Uni¬ 
versity Press. 

Thiollay, J. M. (1994) Family Accipitridae (hawks and eagles). Pp. 
52-205 in J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott and J. Sargatal eds. Handbook of 
the birds of the world, 2. New World vultures to guineafowl. 
Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. 


Rishad Naoroji, Godrej Bhavan, 4A Home Street, 4th Floor, Fort, Munbai, 400 001, India 
Dick Forsman, Box 25, FIN-02421, Jorvas, Finland 

















Forktail 17 (2001) 


SHORT NOTES 


109 


Foraging ecology of Red-vented Bulbul 
Pycnonotus cafer in Haridwar, India 

DINESH BHATT and ANIL KUMAR 


The foraging ecology of some Indian bird species has 
been studied in cultivated and natural habitats (Dhindsa 
and Saini 1994).Thirteen species of birds of agricultural 
importance have been studied in detail. Most of the 
studies were based on food preference in captivity and 
analysis of gut contents (Mathew 1976, Mathew et al. 
1980, Dhindsa andToor 1990, Saini and Dhindsa 1993). 
However, when feeding ecology is studied to estimate 
the impact of a species on agriculture, gut content 
analysis alone is insufficient. For instance, Dhindsa and 
Toor (1990) found that rice was the principal food type 
in the guts of three species of weavers Ploceus in Punjab; 
field observations, however, revealed that most of the 
rice grains taken by these birds had been left in the stored 
straw or shed during the crop harvest and thus were 
already wasted. 

The Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer is very 
widely distributed throughout the Indian sub-continent, 
and divided into seven races. It is a resident arboreal 
species commonly found in gardens and in forest. It is 
non-territorial, and can occur in pairs or large flocks. In 
the present study, data have been collected on the 
foraging behaviour of Red-vented Bulbul, and attempts 
have been made to analyse the economic importance of 
this species in terms of loss, if any, it causes to 
horticulture/agriculture.The study was carried out from 
April 1995 to April 1997 in and around Gurukul Kangri 
University campus, Haridwar (29°55'N 78°8'E), India. 
Typical trees and shrubs of this suburban habitat include 
Polyalthea longifolia, Hibiscus sp., Rosa sp., Mangifera 
indica, Litchi chinensis, Pithecellobium dulce, Clerodendron 
indicum and the species listed in Table 1 .The study site 
was visited once every week and dawn to dusk 


observations were made on feeding behaviour. When a 
single individual, pair or flock was seen feeding, it was 
considered as one observation. 

In the non-breeding season, flocks of 8 to 24 
individuals were seen to feed together, while in the 
breeding season feeding birds were seen either alone or 
in small flocks (2 to 5 individuals). In the study area 17 
types of plant species were used as a food resource (Table 
1). Out of these plants, the unripe fruits of Solatium 
torvum were consumed most frequently (17.0% of the 
total observations). The second and third preferences 
were the leaves of Medicago sativa and ripe fruits of 
Lantana camara , respectively. Of 377 observations made 
on feeding behaviour, 55.9% involved the consumption 
of ripe fruits, 17.0% unripe fruits, 13.8% nectar and 
13.8% leaves. Although only 22.7% of all ripe fruits were 
from cultivated plants, this could be significant 
economically if a lot of birds were present. It appears 
that, though birds were living in suburban areas, they 
were still more dependent on wild plant species for food 
as compared to other frugivorous birds, thus causing 
minimal harm to human crops. However, the birds do 
contribute to the dispersal of unwanted shrubs, such as 
Lantana camara and Solanum torvum , whose fruits 
formed 27% of the observed diet (Table 1). An 
important observation on the foraging behaviour of this 
bird is that it sometimes feeds on the nectar of a few 
plants, including the Bottlebrush Callistemon utilis, 
Sambal Bombax ceiba and Banana Musa paradisiaca. 
Recently Parasharya et al. (1995) reported that the Red- 
vented Bulbul is not a serious pest of sorghum crops. 
The relative abundance of this species among feeding 
birds was very low (4.34%) as compared to Scaly- 


Table 1 . Plant species and their edible parts used by the Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer for feeding in India. 


Plant species 

Common name 

Family 

Edible part 

Observations (%) 

Indigenous 

Azadirachta indica * 

Neem 

Meliaceae 

Ripe fruit 

1.1 

Bombax ceiba 

Semal 

Bombacaceae 

Nectar 

12.2 

Clerodendron infortunatum * 


Verbenaceae 

Ripe fruit 

2.6 

Coccinia indica 

Kanduri 

Cucurbitaceae 

Ripe fruit 

9.0 

Ficus bengalensis 

Banyan 

Moraceae 

Ripe fruit 

7.4 

Ficus glomerata 

Cluster fig 

Moraceae 

Ripe fruit 

2.9 

Ficus religiosa 

Pipal 

Moraceae 

Ripe fruit 

5.8 

Medicago sativa 

Jangali mathi 

Papilionaceae 

Leaves 

13.8 

Syzygium jambolanum * 

Jamun 

Myrtaceae 

Ripe fruit 

1.3 

Exotic 

Annona squamosa* 

Sugar apple 

Annonaceae 

Ripe fruit 

1.6 

Callistemon utilis* 

Bottlebrush 

Myrtaceae 

Nectar 

1.1 

Lantana camara 

Gandy 

Verbenaceae 

Ripe fruit 

10.1 

Musa paradisiaca * 

Banana 

Musaceae 

Ripe fruit / nectar 

1.6 / 0.5 

Psidium guajava * 

Guava 

Myrtaceae 

Ripe fruit 

2.1 

Solanum nigrum 

Makoai 

Solanaceae 

Ripe fruit 

5.3 

Solanum torvum 

Bhat 

Solanaceae 

Unripe fruit 

17.0 

Vitis vinifera* 

Grape 

Vitaceae 

Ripe fruit 

5.6 


Cultivated 



































































110 


SHORT NOTES 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata (23.13%), Baya 
Weaver Ploceus philippinus (29.33%) and Common 
Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus (22.76%). 

In the present study, Red-vented Bulbuls were also 
observed feeding on a number of animal species (88 
observations in total).These were as follows: small-sized 
insects, including mosquitos and mayflies (caught in 
flight), dipteran larvae, aphids, ants (56.8%); large-sized 
insects, including crickets, cockroaches, winged termites, 
grasshopers (37.5%); vertebrates (7 to 9 cm in length), 
including house lizards, skinks (5.7%). Birds were also 
observed to feed upon discarded sweets and over-ripe 
fruits in garbage. 

Bulbuls are dominant or important frugivores and 
seed dispersers of open secondary vegetation throughout 
tropical and subtropical Asia (Lever 1987, Corlett 1998). 
Until now very little information was available on the 
feeding behaviour of the Red-vented Bulbul (Parasharya 
et al. 1995,Dhamke 1997).The consumption ofleaves 
of Medicago sativa was an interesting observation because 
leaf consumption is rare in birds. Recently, we also 
observed Red-vented Bulbuls feeding on petals of the 
flowers of Bauhinia variegata, Tecomella undulata and 
Pisum sativum in an agricultural area outside the study 
area. 


REFERENCES 

Corlett, R.T. (1998) Frugivory and seed dispersal by birds in Hong 
Kong shrubland. Forktail 13: 23-27. 

Dhamke, H. A. (1997) Possible feeding on an unhatched egg by 
young one of Redvented bulbul ( Pycnonotus cafer). J. Bombay. 
Nat. Hist. Soc. 94: 413-414. 

Dhindsa, M. S. and Toor, H. S. (1990) Feeding ecology of three 
sympatric species of Indian weaver birds in an intensively culti¬ 
vated area. Pp. 217-236 in J. Pinowski and J. D. Summers-Smith, 
eds. Granivorous birds in agricultural landscape. Warsaw: PWN- 
Polish Scientific Publishers. 

Dhindsa, M. S. and Saini, H. K. (1994) Agricultural ornithology: an 
Indian perspective. J. Biosci. 19: 391-402. 

Lever, C. (1987) Naturalized birds of the world. England: Longman. 

Mathew, D. N. (1976) Ecology of the weaver birds. J. Bombay Nat. 
Hist. Soc. 73: 249-260. 

Mathew, D. N., Narendran,T. C. and Zacharias,V. J. (1980) A com¬ 
parative account of the food habits of some species of birds af¬ 
fecting agriculture. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. (Suppl.) 75: 1178- 
1197. 

Parasharya, B. M., Mathew, K. L. andYadav, D. N. (1995) Commu¬ 
nity structure of bird pests and their diurnal rhythm in ripening 
sorghum. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 92: 11-15. 

Saini, H. K. and Dhindsa, M. S. (1993) Food preference of captive 
Rose-ringed Parakeets: a comparison of two methods. Japanese 
J. Orn. 41: 39-45. 


We are grateful to Dr A. K. Chopra, Head, Dept, of Zoology and 
Environmental Science, for providing departmental facilities. We 
thank Dr A. K. Pati, Dept, of Biosciences, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla 
University, Raipur, for his comments on the manuscript. 


Dinesh Bhatt & Anil Kumar, Department of Zoology & Environmental Science, Gurukul Kangri University, Haridwar- 
249404, India 


Observations on the Oriental Bay Owl 
Phodilus badius and range extension in 
the Western Ghats, India 

T. R. SHANKAR RAMAN 


The Oriental Bay Owl Phodilus badius is a poorly known 
species restricted to the tropical moist forests of South 
and South-East Asia. Three disjunctly distributed 
subspecies are known from the Indian subcontinent (Ali 
and Ripley 1983). In Sri Lanka, the subspecies assimilis 
occurs in the wet zone and hills up to 1,200 m (Henry 
1955, Liyanage 1972, Ekenayake 1994).The species has 
also been reported from the Nelliampathy and Anamalai 
hills of the southern Western Ghats mountains of India 
(subspecies ripleyi , Hussain and Khan 1978, Kannan 
1993, Mudappa 1998).These two subspecies are quite 
distinct in plumage from the other forms that occur in 
Nepal, the eastern Himalaya, and north-east hill states 
of India (subspecies saturatus), and in South-East Asia 
(King et al. 1975, Ali and Ripley 1983, Boonsong 


Lekagul and Round 1991). The distributional pattern 
corresponds roughly to the distribution of tropical 
evergreen rainforest, the habitat to which this species is 
mostly confined (Ali and Ripley 1983). 

Oriental Bay Owls were seen on three occasions 
between February and June 1998 in Sengaltheri (8°31 'N 
77°26'E) within the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger 
Reserve,Tamil Nadu, India. All sightings were in tropical 
wet evergreen forest at an altitude of 1,040-1,050 m 
above sea level. 

The first sighting was on 19 February 1998. At 
20hl5, an unfamiliar three-noted whistle was heard from 
rainforests near the base camp at Sengaltheri. Four 
observers (Divya Mudappa, N. M. Ishwar, the author, 
and a field assistant) located the calling bird at 20h30. 




Forktail 17 (2001) 


SHORT NOTES 


111 


The bird was spotted in mid-storey vegetation, perched 
on a branch 8-10 m above the ground. Its flight was 
silent and it flew adroitly through dense vegetation and 
stands of saplings, tall shrubs, trees and climbers. The 
bird was observed with a powerful 4-cell flashlight and 
7x50 binoculars for nearly 30 minutes from a distance 
of between 8 and 20 m. While the bird was calling, its 
beak hardly moved. Only a small movement of the throat 
was noticeable, and the call had a slightly ventriloquial 
effect. We verified that the bird we were watching was 
indeed the calling bird by close observation of bill and 
throat movements. Also, the bird was observed calling 
from its perch and once as it flew to another perch, where 
it again resumed calling. The call was a three-noted 
whistle, not very loud, but carrying for at least 100-150 
m on a quiet night. The whistle sounded like weeon- uoee - 
youu, with the accent on the second note, which was 
the softest note and inaudible from a distance.The third 
note tapered off slightly at the end. The calls were 
repeated once or twice a minute, punctuated by longer 
gaps after about two or three minutes. Another individual 
was heard calling from over 100 m away, apparently in 
response to the bird under observation. This call was 
heard only at night several times in January and 
February, and then again only in December. 

The second sighting was made by Divya Mudappa 
on 20 April 1998 at 21h45.The bird was perched on a 
low branch above a stream in the rainforest.The species 
was seen again at the same place on 19 June 1998 (by 
D. Mudappa, Kaberi Kar-Gupta, and the author) and 
photographed at close range. 

The call described in this article seems similar to 
that noted by H. E. McClure, quoted in Ali and Ripley 
(1983): ‘A loud 3-noted whistle reminiscent of someone 
calling his dog, the birds answering each other in the 
forest’. Different races of Oriental Bay Owl may, 
however, have very different calls, which need to be 
ascertained through sonagram analyses. The call of P.b. 
saturatus has been variously described as ‘a succession 
of loud, musical whistles with an upward inflection’ 
(attributed to J. T. Marshall in King et al. 1975), and as 
‘a series of eerie, musical, upward-inflected whistles’ 
(Boonsong Lekagul and Round 1991). A different call, 
also of this race, is rendered as kwankit-kwankit-kek-kek- 
kek , heard most when birds are flying in complete 
darkness (attributed to J. Cairns in Ali and Ripley 1983). 

The subspecies P. b. ripleyi was first reported from a 
single specimen taken in wet evergreen biotope at 
Periasolai in the Nelliampathy hills of the Anamalais 
(10°28'N 76°50'E, Hussain and Khan 1978). It has since 
been recorded from Karian Shola in the Anamalai hills 
(Kannan 1993, Mudappa 1998). Kannan (1993) 
predicted that the species might occur further south, in 


sanctuaries such as Kalakad and Periyar that contain 
wet evergreen forest. 

In 1996, an Oriental Bay Owl was seen and 
photographed in the snake park of Cannanore city in 
Kerala (at 12°N). A local newspaper carried two close- 
up colour photographs of the bird, which was 
undoubtedly P. badius. The bird was said to have come 
from Bhoothan in Koluvalli, near Cherupuzha (Anon. 
1996).This record seems to indicate that the bird’s range 
might extend north of the Palghat Gap to at least 12°N 
(Cannanore and adjacent wet forests of Kodagu district 
in Karnataka state).This must, however, be considered 
tentative in the absence of information on habitat around 
the area and on whether the bird was an escaped captive 
or a vagrant. The above records suggest a patchy 
distribution, but the owl may have been overlooked from 
intervening areas that contain evergreen forest. It would 
be worthwhile surveying evergreen forests of Karnataka 
and areas such as the Nilgiris for the species. 


I thank the Tamil Nadu Forest Department for research permits. 
Many thanks to Mr H. Dharmarajan for help with translation of the 
Malayalam newspaper article. Drs R. Kannan and V. Santharam 
helped with the literature search and Divya Mudappa reviewed the 
manuscript. The Ministry of Environment and Forests, India, and 
the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation funded the 
research in KMTR. 


REFERENCES 

Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D. (1983) Handbook of the birds of India and 
Pakistan. Compact edition. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 

Anonymous (1996) [‘A guest rarely seen — now in Snake Park.’] 
Malayala Manorama 11 September 1996, Cannanore. (In 
Malayalam.) 

Boonsong Lekagul and Round, P. D. (1991) A guide to the birds of 
Thailand. Bangkok: Saha Karn Bhaet. 

Ekenayake, U. (1994) The Ceylon Bay Owl, Phodilus badius assimilis 
Hume, another record from the Hill zone. Ceylon Bird Club Notes 
March 1994: 27-28. 

Henry, G. M. (1955) A guide to the birds of Ceylon. Bombay: Oxford 
University Press. 

Hussain, S. A. and Khan, M. A. R. (1978) A new subspecies of Bay 
Owl [Phodilus badius (Horsfield)] from Peninsular India. J. 
Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 74: 334-335. 

Kannan, R. (1993) Rediscovery of the Oriental Bay-Owl Phodilus 
badius in peninsular India. Forktail 8: 148-149. 

King, B., Woodcock, M. and Dickinson, E. C. (1975) A field guide to 
the birds of south-east Asia. London: Collins. 

Liyanage, C. (1972) Ceylon Bay Owl: One of Ceylon’s rarest birds. 
Loris 12: 244-246. 

Mudappa, D. (1998) Sight record of the Oriental Bay Owl ( Phodilus 
badius ripleyi) in the Anaimalai hills, southern Western Ghats, 
India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 95: 343. 


T. R. Shankar Raman, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore - 560 012, India; email: 
shankar@ces. use. ernet. in 









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Birds of Phu Lon Le Island, Thailand 

J. MLIKOVSKY 


The birds ofThailand are relatively well known, although 
much of the research was done in selected national parks 
and well known birding sites (Round 1988, Boonsong 
Lekagul and Round 1991). However, many of the large 
number of offshore islands still remain unexplored. The 
avifauna of Phu Lon Le island is described, based on a 
study carried out from 4-22 November 1997. 

Birds were identified using standard literature (King 
et al. 1975, Boonsong Lekagul and Round 1991). 
Nomenclature and sequence of species follows Inskipp 
et al. (1996). 

STUDY SITE 

Phu Lon Le (Bulon Le) is a small island (c. 2 x 1.2 km), 
located in the south-east Andaman Sea, c. 6°49'N 
99°32'E. It is located 15 km north-west of the island of 
Tarutao, and 20 km west of the mainland of the Thai- 
Malay Peninsula (see Anon. 1987). Administratively it 
is part of the province of Satun, Thailand. The island is 
accessible by boat from Ban Pak Bara. 

The island is dominated by two hill chains, reaching 
a maximum height of 159 m. Both hills are largely 
covered with tall evergreen forest. There is an active 
plantation of rubber trees in the broad saddle between 
the two hill chains, and an abandoned rubber tree 
plantation at Pansand Resort on the eastern shore of 
the island. The shores of the island are rocky, usually 
steep, but flat in the north-east part. Low tide exposes 
rocky flats, particularly extensive at Muang Bay in the 
south, at Panka Noi Bay in the north, and at Pansand 
Resort in the north-east. These flats are partly formed 
from (mostly dead) coral reefs. A small patch of 
mangroves survives in the Panka Noi Bay. 



The weather was relatively mild during the visit in 
November 1997. Afternoon temperatures usually 
reached 35-36°C, dropping at night usually to 27-28°C. 
Rain showers were frequent, but usually short. 

SPECIES ACCOUNTS 

[Domestic Fowl Regularly encountered inside the 
forest, far from villages, ecologically replacing Red 
Junglefowl Gallus gallus, which was absent from the 
island.] 

Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris. 
Common in the forest. The birds belonged to the 
nominate subspecies. 

Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata. One 
individual was observed on 8 November perching in the 
trees on the shore. 

Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis. One 
individual was seen on 7 November at the forest edge 
near mangroves at Panka Noi Bay. 

Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris. Common on 
sea shores. 

Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea. Common in the 
forest. 

House Swift Apus affinis. An occasional visitor to the 
island, seen on 6, 8 and 10 November. 

Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata. One individual was 
regularly seen hunting after dusk by the bungalows. 

Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica. One individual was 
observed in the forest on 7 and 14 November. This 
species is considered near-threatened by Birdlife 
International (2000). 

Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea. Occasionally seen 
inside the forest. 

Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor. Common on the 
steep, forested shore at Panka Noi Bay, but absent from 
the rest of the island. 

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus. One individual was seen 
on the rocky shore at Panka Noi Bay on 7 November. 

Little Tern Sterna albifrons. Four individuals were seen 
fishing ca. 100 m offshore on 17 November. 

Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus. Regularly seen flying 
above the island. 

White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster. An 
occasional visitor to the island, seen on 11 and 15 
November. 


Figure 1. Cumulative number of bird species recorded on 
Phu Lon Le island, Thailand, November 1997 









Forktail 17 (2001) 


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113 


Shikra Accipiter badius. Two individuals were seen 
perching in the canopy on 9 November. 

Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipitergularis. One juvenile was 
observed hunting in the early morning of 13 November 
by the bungalows. 

Pacific Reef Egret Egretta sacra. Frequently observed 
in small numbers on rocky shores, particularly at Panka 
Noi Bay. All individuals observed belonged to the dark 
morph. 

Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola Bacchus. Occasionally seen 
on rocky shores. 

Little Heron Butorides striatus. One juvenile was 
observed on the rocky shore at Panka Noi Bay on 7 
November. 

Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala grisola. Occasionally 
seen in the forest understorey. 

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos. A few 
individuals were regularly observed. 

Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis. Regularly seen 
in forest canopy. 

Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus. A flock of at least 
three individuals was seen in the forest canopy on 11 
November. 

Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus. Repeatedly seen 
between 6-10 November, but not thereafter. 

Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea. Occasionally 
seen in small numbers in the forest. 

Aslan Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi. One 
short-tailed individual was seen at the forest edge on 15 
November. 

Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica. One 
individual was seen in canopy at the forest edge on 14 
and 15 November. 

Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis. One 
individual was observed in dense forest understorey on 
10 November. 

Purple-backed Starling Sturnus sturninus. Two adults 
were observed in forest canopy on 11 November. 

Common Myna Acridotheres tram. Very common by the 
bungalows, but did not enter the forest interior. 

Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica. Common. Large 
flocks were often flying high over the canopy and may 
have included other Hirundo species. 

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica. One individual 
was seen flying over canopy at the forest edge on 14 
November. 

Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotusgoiavier. Common. 

Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus. An individual was 
observed on 7 November in shrubs at forest edge near 
the Panka village. The bird was brownish, with well- 
marked supercilium, lacked wing-bars, and had a slender 
bill. Its call was a hard, repeated chac. Dusky Warblers 
are common migrants to northern Thailand, but there 
are no previous records from peninsular Thailand 


(Boonsong Lekagul and Round 1991). I am familiar 
with this species from my long-term field research in 
Buryatia (East Siberia), conducted in 1991-1994. It is 
possible that this species is more common in the Malayan 
peninsula than is currently appreciated, because another 
individual was observed on 23 December 1997 in 
mangroves at Kukup Forest Reserve, Johor, Peninsular 
Malaya (S. Rajathurai in Robson 1998). 

Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis. Regularly seen in 
small numbers from 8 November onwards. 

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum. 
Occasionally observed in small numbers. 

Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis. 
Regularly seen on a flowering tree on 13-15 November. 
Not observed otherwise. 

Purple-throated Sunbird Nectarinia sperata. Regularly 
seen on a flowering tree on 12-15 November. Not 
observed otherwise. 

Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis. Common 
outside of the forest. Courtship display was repeatedly 
shown by a male on 15 November, but no signs of 
courtship behaviour were seen on other days. 

DISCUSSION 
Composition of the avifauna 

Although only three weeks were spent on the island, 
the satiation curve (Fig. 1) shows that the resulting 
avifaunal list is reasonably comprehensive. A relatively 
high number of recorded species apparently reflects the 
close proximity of the mainland and the presence of 
autumn migrants and/or winter visitors. The only sign 
of breeding activity observed was courtship display 
shown by a male Olive-backed Sunbird on 15 
November. 

Most of the species were more or less limited to the 
canopy and/or understorey of the evergreen forest. 
Forest ground birds were limited to the Nicobar Pigeon 
and domestic chicken. Only two species, Common Myna 
and Olive-backed Sunbird, were found almost 
exclusively outside the forest, frequenting man-made 
garden-like habitat at Pansang Resort. Rubber tree 
plantations were avoided by birds, although Oriental 
Pied Hombills occasionally visited their canopy layer. A 
number of species, mainly egrets and large kingfishers, 
were limited to rocky shores of the island. The only 
species of open sea bird observed in the close vicinity of 
Phu Lon Le Island was Little Tern. 

Conservation 

Human population is limited to two small villages of 
‘sea gypsies’ located at Panka Bays in the north, and at 
Muang Bay in the south. In addition, tourists visit the 
island during the dry season, being concentrated at 
Pansang Resort on the north-east shore of the island. 
Neither native inhabitants nor tourists normally enter 
the forest, which makes it a safe harbour for forest birds. 
No recent logging was observed, but small fields were 
found at the forest edge, particularly at Panka village 
and at Pansang Resort. Also, no persecution of 







114 


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Forktail 17 (2001) 


shorebirds by local inhabitants was observed 

Domestic animals seemed to be no threat to the birds, 
although one pair of domestic cats with three kittens 
(one of them in very bad condition), housed at Pansang 
Resort, is potentially endangering the existence of the 
near-threatened Nicobar Pigeon on the island. 

REFERENCES 

Anon. (1987) Thailand - Malacca Strait West Coast of Malay Penin¬ 
sula, Ko Rawi to Satun. 2nd rev. ed. Krung Thep: 


Hydrogeographic Department (Map 1: 200 000).. 

BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Cambridge, 
U.K.: BirdLife International. 

Boonsong Lekagul and Round P. D. (1991) A guide to the birds of 
Thailand. Bangkok: Saha Kara Bhaet. 

Inskipp, T., Lindsey, N. and Duckworth, W. (1996) An annotated 
checklist of the birds of the Oriental region. Sandy, U.K.: Oriental 
Bird Club. 

King, B., Dickinson, E. C. andWoodcock, M. W. (1975) Afield guide 
to the birds of South-East Asia. London: Collins. 

Robson, C. (1998) From the field. Oriental Bird Club Bull. 27: 61-66. 

Round, P. D. (1988) Resident forest birds in Thailand: their status and 
conservation. Cambridge. U.K.: ICBP. 


Jiri MIikovsky,Vrsorvicka 11,CZ-1 0100 Praha 10, Czech Republic 


Merlin Falco columbarius , the first record for 

Thailand 

A. ROADHOUSE 


When birdwatching on an area of dry, stubble-covered, 
rice paddies c. 1-2 km south of BanThaTon, Mae Ai 
District, Chiang Mai on 4 December 1999, I found a 
Merlin Falco columbarius at 07h30. I was watching a 
female Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus ( aeruginosus ) 
spilonotus, and two Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus 
in flight, when a smaller falcon flew across my field of 
view and started mobbing the Eastern Marsh Harrier; 
it continued this for about ten minutes. The bird 
eventually flew off to the west. I immediately identified 
the small falcon as a Merlin Falco columbarius , a species 
not depicted in Boonsong Lekagul and Round (1991) 
and it was assumed, therefore, to be an addition to the 
Thai faunal list. The bird was also seen by a second 
observer, Rob Smith. 

On the following day, while birding alone in similar 
habitat about 1 km further south, c. 13h00, I again 
encountered the Merlin, once again mobbing an Eastern 
Marsh Harrier. This time, however, it perched in a tree 
for c. 2 minutes, before darting off in pursuit of a Barn 
Swallow Hirundo rustica , which it missed; it then flew 
on northwards and was lost to sight after less than 10 
minutes. All observations were made with a 10 x 42 
binocular at a range down to roughly 100 m. 

I am highly familiar with the Merlin from the 
northern U.K., having seen adult birds on the breeding 
grounds, and many immatures on passage in spring and 
autumn on the coast. 

Description: A small, compact falcon, smaller than 
Common Kestrel with shorter wings and tail.The flight 


was distinctive with fast, fluttering wing-beats 
interspersed with short glides, rather than the slower 
flapping and longer glides of, for example, Accipiter 
hawks. When mobbing the Eastern Marsh Harrier it 
regularly fanned its tail as it turned swiftly in flight. 

Mantle and upperwing uniform mid-brown, not as 
warm as Common Kestrel and lacking the contrast 
between the blackish primaries and the paler rest of the 
upperwing of that species. Cap mid-brown; a thin, 
distinct moustachial stripe.Tail barred with bold, broad 
bars. Underparts pale with thin but obvious dark streaks 
on a creamy-buff ground colour. The streaks were much 
finer than those on the underparts of Eurasian Hobby 
Falco subbuteo. It was immediately distinguished from 
Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus by its smaller size and lack 
of a broad blackish moustachial stripe. 

The Merlin breeds in the northern Holarctic and 
NW China, migrating south to temperate and northern 
tropical latitudes, with previous South-East Asian 
records from north Laos and Central Annam (Robson 
2000 ). 


REFERENCES 

Boonsong Lekagul and Round, R D. (1991) A guide to the birds of 
Thailand. Bangkok: Saha Kara Bhaet. 

Robson, C. (2000) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. Lon¬ 
don: New Holland. 


A. Roadhouse, 18 William Street, Rotherham, S. Yorks., S60 2NG, U. K; email: worldbirder@hotmail.com 




Forktail 17 (2001) 


SHORT NOTES 


115 


Blyth’s Pipit Anthus godlevoshii: 
a new species for Thailand 

YOAV PERLMAN 


On 30 November 1999, as I was walking from my 
campsite at Yao Wa Chon camp towards the 
headquarters of the IvhaoYai National Park, Thailand, 
I noticed at some distance in front of me a pipit Anthus 
running alongside the road. As I got closer, it took off 
and gave a soft chup call, which I tentatively recognized 
as a call typical of Blyth’s Pipit Anthus godlewskii. The 
bird landed about 50 m away in tall grass. For the next 
hour or so I tried to obtain good views of the bird, but it 
was very shy and I could not get a clear view on the 
ground; however, I saw it many times in flight and heard 
its call. It usually gave a call which was similar to the 
call I heard the first time, and also another call, a slightly 
buzzing psheeu, sometimes both calls were combined. 
In flight, it looked rather small and short-tailed. On 1 
December 1999 I found the bird at the same locality, at 
first again feeding along the road, and then it stayed in 
the tall grass, and I still could not get a good view. On 2 
December 1999 I finally managed to get good views, 
and I watched the bird for about 45 minutes, from a 
distance of 10-15 m, using lOx binoculars and a 25x 
telescope. As I was familiar with the species, as well as 
with Richard’s Pipit A. richardi and Paddyfield Pipit A. 
rufulus, from the Indian subcontinent, Mongolia and 
China, and had spent some time comparing ‘large’ pipit 
species, I identified the bird as a Blyth’s Pipit. In the 
vicinity were two Paddyfield Pipits, which made the 
comparison between these species easier. On 3 
December 1999 I could no longer find the bird, and in 
the following days other birders could not find it either. 

The bird spent most of its time feeding alongside 
the road and in a dry grassy area, which was part of a 
large forest clearing surrounded by dipterocarp- 
dominated evergreen forest, at an elevation of about 800 
m. 

The KhaoYai bird had some distinctive features that 
made its identification rather straightforward. The main 
identification problems were separating Blyth’s Pipit 
from Richard’s Pipit, especially the eastern subspecies 
A. r. dauricus and A. r. sinensis , and Paddyfield Pipit. 
Alstrom (pers. comm.) considers that dauricus and 
sinensis are merely variants of A. r. richardi. The Tawny 
Pipit A. campestris appears similar in some plumages, 
but is unlikely to occur in South-East Asia.The following 
discussion relates to aspects of identification. 

General appearance and jizz 

The bird looked rather small and delicate, with a more 
horizontal stance than Richard's Pipit, a small head 
and a relatively short tail, recalling ‘small’ pipits, as 
described by Bradshaw (1994). Richard’s Pipit has a 
much more upright stance, with longer tarsus and neck, 
longer tail and more bulky appearance, although A. r. 
dauricus and A. r. sinensis are smaller, shorter-tailed and 
more delicate, and probably overlap Blyth’s Pipit in this 


respect. The size and general stance of Paddyfield Pipit 
are rather similar to those of Blyth’s Pipit, although the 
latter seems smaller. 

Upperparts tone and streaking 

The bird’s upperparts had a rather cold greyish tone, 
with rather bold streaking on the back, though not very 
striking. Richard’s and Paddyfield Pipits usually have 
warmer brownish colours, although both species show 
some variation, and become greyer when plumage is 
worn. Both species show less distinct streaking on the 
back. 

Head pattern 

The bird showed rather strong streaking on the crown 
and nape. Bradshaw (1994) described this as a ‘capped 
effect’. The supercilium was short and indistinct, 
especially behind the eye.The lores were pale. Richard’s 
and Paddyfield Pipits both have less streaking on the 
crown, and Richard’s has a stronger supercilium. 
Paddyfield Pipit usually has dark lores, while Richard’s 
Pipit has pale lores, as in Blyth’s Pipit. 

Underparts 

The bird showed little streaking on the breast, and this 
did not reach the flanks and belly. Richard’s Pipit 
sometimes shows some diffuse streaks on the rear flanks 
(P. Alstrom pers. comm.). Paddyfield Pipit can be quite 
variable, with some birds appearing very streaked while 
others have a plainer appearance. 

Median coverts 

One of the best characteristics for field identification of 
Blyth’s Pipit is the pattern of the adult’s median coverts: 
these show more square-cut and less pointed dark 
centres, and the margins are paler and narrower along 
the feather edges than Richard’s Pipit. Richard’s Pipit 
shows more triangular and less clear-cut centres, and 
the margins are huffish and wider. Juvenile patterned 
coverts are similar in Blyth’s and Richard’s, but most 
birds that have undergone a partial post-juvenile moult 
show one or more adult-patterned coverts, often on the 
inner coverts. The pattern of the coverts might be 
difficult to define when the feathers become worn. The 
KhaoYai bird showed three such typical adult-patterned 
median covert feathers on each wing, the three inner 
coverts, enabling me to identify it as a first-winter Blyth’s 
Pipit. 

Feet 

Richard’s Pipit has an extremely long hind claw (13.9- 
24.5 mm). Blyth’s Pipit has a much shorter hind claw 
(9.9-13.4 mm; Beaman and Madge, 1998). This 
characteristic feature was easily visible during good views 
at KhaoYai, when the bird was walking on the road. 









116 


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Forktail 17 (2001) 


Bill 

Compared to Richard’s Pipit, Blyth’s Pipit has a shorter 
and more pointed bill; Bradshaw (1994) described it as 
‘conical shaped’. This was a distinctive feature of the 
KhaoYai bird. 

Voice 

The bird gave both typical calls - a soft and quiet chup, 
and a slightly rasping and longer psheeu, slightly 
descending towards the end. The calls were sometimes 
given together or repeated. Cramp et al. (1988) describe 
another alarm call, a dry dzeep with an anxious tone, 
recalling Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava. Richard’s Pipit 
gives a distinctive call that is often described as explosive 
and Sparrow-like chip , tchuto r schreep, and rarely another 
soft chip call, recalling that of Blyth’s Pipit, but always 
together with the typical explosive call. Paddyfield Pipit 
gives an explosive but relatively subdued chip, chup or 
chzuist call (Robson 2000). 

This constitutes the first record for Thailand. Blyth’s 
Pipit breeds from Southern Transbaikalia and Eastern 
Manchuria south toTibet; it winters mainly in the Indian 
subcontinent, and is an uncommon winter visitor to 


Yoav Perlman, Bet Ha’arava 23, Jerusalem 93389, Israel. 


Myanmar. It is a rare vagrant to Europe and the Middle 
East (Cramp et al. 1988, Robson 2000). It was predicted 
by Boonsong Lekagul and Round (1991) as a potential 
visitor to Thailand. 


I thank Per Alstrom and Philip D. Round for their comments on the 
manuscript. 


REFERENCES 

Alstrom, P. (1988) Identification of Blyth’s Pipit. Binding World 1: 
268-272. 

Beaman, M. and Madge, S. (1998) The handbook of bird identification 
for Europe and theWestern Palearctic. New Jersey: Princeton Press. 

Boonsong Lekagul and Round, P. D. (1991) A guide to the birds of 
Thailand. Bangkok: Sana Karn Bhaet. 

Bradshaw, C. (1994) Blyth’s Pipit identification. Brit. Birds 87: 136- 
142. 

Cramp, S., ed. (1988) The birds of the Western Palearctic, 5 - Tyrant 
Flycatchers to Thrushes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Lewington, I. Alstrom, P. and Colston, P. (1991) A field guide to the 
rare birds of Britain and Europe. London: Poyser. 

Robson, B. (2000) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. Lon¬ 
don: New Holland. 


Notes on the Talaud Rail Gymnocrex talaudensis 
from Karakelang island, North Sulawesi, Indonesia 

JIM C.WARDILL 


The Talaud Rail Gymnocrex talaudensis is a little-known 
species presently recorded only from the island of 
Karakelang in the Talaud Islands, North Sulawesi, 
Indonesia. The species was described from the single 
type specimen collected in 1996 (Lambert 1998).This 
specimen had lost its tail and was in heavy wing moult, 
retaining only a few fully grown flight feathers. In 
addition to the holotype, G. talaudensis is known only 
from two brief sightings made in 1996 by F. Lambert 
and F. Verbelen (Lambert 1998). Consequently, 
biometric data and plumage descriptions forTalaud Rail 
are incomplete and the species’s status is little-known. 

On 22 May 2000, I discovered a recently captured 
G. talaudensis being kept in a house in the village of Rae 
(04°19’N 126°45’E), Beo sub-district, Karakelang.The 
rail had reportedly been caught in a snare in marshy 
grassland some 2-3 km inland from the coastal village. 
The bird, which was in good condition with complete 
rectrices and remiges, was purchased from the owner 
for a small sum and then measured, described and 
photographed before being released back to the wild. 
The wing and tail measurements of this individual 
represent the first such measurements for this species. 


During fieldwork on the islands in early 1999, many 
Karakelang villagers were found to be familiar with G. 
talaudensis and a number of anecdotal reports shed some 
light on the distribution and status of the species on the 
Talaud islands. 


DESCRIPTION 

The individual of G. talaudensis obtained in the village 
of Rae on 22 May 2000 was considered to be an adult, 
based on plumage and bare part colouration, although 
it was not sexed. The bird was reported to have been in 
captivity for less than 24 hours and was in a good 
condition, with complete plumage. The following 
description was taken under natural light: ' 

Basal two-thirds of the bill yellow, brightest at the 
base of the upper mandible and with dark markings 
around the nares. Distal third of the bill a dirty horn, 
the bill tip off-white. Legs dull pink with the front and 
back of the tarsii a dull yellow. Iris scarlet red, surrounded 
by a fleshy cerise pink eye-ring. A large bare skin patch 
extended behind the eye and was pink with two 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


SHORT NOTES 


1 17 


iridescent silvery flakes of skin, one above the back of 
the eye and one covering the rear half of the bare skin 
patch. 

Head, neck and breast rich chestnut brown, being 
richest on the crown, hindneck and sides of neck and a 
shade darker on the breast. Chin, area around gape and 
base of the lower mandible dark grey. Mantle feathers 
relatively long and a glossy military green. Back olive- 
green, with a small number of irregularly distributed 
large black spots across the lower back, formed by 
separate black feathers. Rump and uppertail coverts 
mid-brown. Upper belly an unpatterned mixture of black 
and pale brown feathers in almost equal proportions. 
Lower belly, vent and undertail coverts black, the white 
feather shafts being visible only on close inspection. 
Flanks uniform pale olive green. 

Tail black, with white feather shafts only on the 
underside. Upper surface of primaries warm brown, with 
orangy brown feather shafts and the outer webs a slightly 
warmer shade than the inner webs. Upper surface of 
secondaries and tertials olive-green with dark brown 
feather shafts. Alula grey-brown. Secondary coverts 
olive-green. Greater primary coverts warm brown, 
contrasting with other upperwing-coverts. Median and 
lesser primary coverts olive-green. Underside of all flight 
feathers grey-brown. All underwing-coverts black with 
regular broad white tips, forming a striking ‘polka-dot’ 
pattern. 

Measurements (mm): Wing (minimum chord) 167, 
wing (maximum chord) 169, longest primary - p5 
(counting inwards from the outermost primary), tail 38, 
tarsus 76, bill length (gape to tip) 55, nares to bill tip 
30. 


COMPARISON WITH THE HOLOTYPE 

The plumage description of the Rae individual agrees 
closely with that of the G. talaudensis holotype, as 
described and illustrated in Lambert (1998).The only 
notable plumage difference is the Rae bird’s mixture of 
black and pale brown feathers on the belly; the holotype 
being a blackish colour from the belly to the undertail 
coverts. The bill, iris and the head’s bare skin patch of 
both birds appear very similar. The most noticeable 
difference is in leg coloration, the holotype having yellow 
legs, becoming pinkish on the feet, whilst the Rae bird’s 
legs and feet were flesh pink with a dull yellow tinge 
down the length of the front and back of the tarsi. It is 
possible that G. talaudensis displays either seasonal 
variation in leg colour related to breeding condition or 
a level of sexual dimorphism in this feature. 

DISTRIBUTION AND STATUS 

Gymnocrex talaudensis is presently only known from the 
island of Karakelang, Talaud, where field observations 
have been made in the vicinity of Beo (4° 14'N 126°47'E) 
and birds captured near Rainis (4°14'N 126°51'E) and 
Rae. Calls consisting of a deep note, repeated 
approximately twice a second, best transcribed as a oom 
.. oom .. oom .. oom .. have been heard at two primary 


forest and one wet grassland locality during visits to 
Karakelang in 1999 and 2000, and are reported by local 
guides to be made by G. talaudensis. However, the forest 
rail observed on Karakelang in 1996 (Lambert 1998), 
and believed to be Red-necked Crake Rallina tricolor 
could have made these calls as R. tricolor is reported to 
make similar vocalizations whilst feeding (Coates and 
Bishop 1997). As no birds were seen in connection with 
these vocalizations, they cannot safely be ascribed to G. 
talaudensis. 

During five months of field work with the Action 
Sampiri conservation project on Karakelang during early 
1999,1 talked to local people about the island’s birds in 
over 30 villages in all four of Karakelang’s sub-districts. 
In all villages a number of people immediately 
recognized illustrations of G. talaudensis , known locally 
as Tu’a, claiming it to be present in damp, overgrown 
agricultural land in the vicinity of the village. This 
information, together with field records, strongly 
suggests that G. talaudensis is widespread in suitable 
habitats on Karakelang. Two villagers claimed to have 
caught this species in riverside forest, but the presence 
of G. talaudensis in the island’s extensive primary forest 
could not be confirmed with certainty. 

Interestingly, a number of Karakelang villagers 
claimed that G. talaudensis is absent from the other two 
large islands in the Talaud group - Salibabu and 
Kabaruan. Local people interviewed on Salibabu island 
on brief visits in May and November 1999 either had 
no knowledge of the rail, or recognized it as a species 
from Karakelang. This knowledge is woven into a 
traditional story about the creation of theTalaud islands. 
At the time of the creation, each of the three larger Talaud 
islands received its own unique animal — Karakelang 
the rail, Salibabu a cuscus and Kabaruan a cicada. 
Surveys carried out by the Action Sampiri project team 
on theTalaud islands in 1997 and 1999 have shown 
that the Sangihe-Talaud endemic melanotis subspecies 
of the Bear Cuscus Ailurops ursinus , long known from 
Salibabu island (Corbett and Hill 1992), does indeed 
appear to be absent on Karakelang. Although the 
absence of G. talaudensis on other islands in the Talaud 
group would be very difficult to confirm, it seems likely 
that local reports reflect the truth and that this species 
is restricted to Karakelang. 

Most villagers who recognized illustrations of the 
species added that G. talaudensis is regularly hunted by 
local people with both dogs and snare traps. Such 
hunting appears to take place only to supplement family 
diets. There is no evidence of local trade in this, or indeed 
any other ground-dwelling bird species on Karakelang. 
It has not been possible to ascertain the level of threat 
such hunting activities represent to Karakelang’s G. 
talaudensis population, but it is possible that, if the species 
does not utilize the island’s primary forest, then the 
threat is significant. It is perhaps noteworthy that during 
four months of intensive fieldwork on Karakelang in 
early 1999, the Action Sampiri project’s team of four 
researchers failed to record the species in the field or in 
trappers’ catches (J. Riley, pers. comm.), which suggests 
that the Talaud Rail may be scarce on Karakelang. 





118 


SHORT NOTES 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


REFERENCES 

Coates, B. J. and Bishop, K. D. (1997) A guide to the birds ofWallacea. 
(Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Lesser Sunda islands, Indonesia). 
Alderley: Dove Publications. 


Corbett, G. B. and Hill, J. E. (1992) The mammals of the Indomalayan 
region. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Lambert, F. R. (1998) A new species of Gymnocrex from theTalaud 
Islands, Indonesia. Forktail 13: 1-6. 


Jim Wardill, c/o 27 Carlton Avenue, Hornsea, East Yorkshire, HU 18 1JG U. K; email: wardill@ntlworld.com 


Cinnabar Hawk Owl Ninox ios at Lore Lindu 
National Park, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, 

in December 1998 

IWEIN MAURO 


On 18 December 1998, at about lOhOO, Raf Drijvers 
stumbled across what he originally reported to be a 
typical adult Ochre-bellied Hawk Owl Ninox ochracea , 
roosting at eye-height above a narrow newly cut 
indistinct rattan collectors’ trail, leading away from the 
main Palu-Napu road bisecting the Lore Lindu National 
Park in Central Sulawesi towards nearby Danau (=Lake) 
Tambing at a chilly 1,700 m above sea level (with 
altimeter). By the time he had fetched me and we got 
back to the site, which took about an hour, this bird 
sadly was no longer present. Plowever, in crashing 
through the undergrowth in the vicinity I almost 
immediately flushed a strikingly rufous hawk owl from 
dense rattan-thickets about half a metre up from the 
forest floor and less than 15m away from the original 
spot. With some effort—having flushed it several times 
when all it did was fly low through the understorey to 
hide in dense cover again without the necessary clarifying 
views, and nearly having lost it for good—this bird quite 
unexpectedly perched in full view on several occasions, 
allowing close examination over several minutes down 
to point-blank range in excellent light conditions. 

RD immediately commented that this apparently 
new bird looked clearly different from the individual he 
had spotted earlier. Plumage-wise, this second bird was 
entirely bright rufous, almost reddish, lacking any facial 
markings. The only obvious features were its relatively 
small, rounded and earless head, yellowish legs and 
entirely pale greyish bill, bright yellow irides and pinkish 
orbital skin, some small and relatively sharply 
demarcated whitish triangular markings restricted to the 
scapulars, and the very fluffy appearance of the 
underparts. Given this last very obvious character we 
assumed our bird had to be a fully grown juvenile Ochre- 
bellied Hawk Owl, although we both realised that it 
differed strikingly from the illustration in Coates and 
Bishop (1997). Unaware that a third undescribed species 
of hawk owl occurred on Sulawesi, and both of us having 
no relevant field experience with N. ochracea , this 
identification was deemed plausible, and hence it was 
written up as such in a preliminary report (Mauro 1999) 
received by BirdLife International and other relevant 


conservation bodies in early January 2000. 

Features not noted by us in the field were the finely 
barred tail, which in our bird appeared uniform, and 
the whitish shafts on the underparts. Also we did not 
find this bird particularly slim or attenuated and long¬ 
tailed, probably owing to the fact that it was puffing up 
its feathers under stress. 

It was not until 8 January 2000, when F. G. Rozendaal 
showed me his slides of the holotype of N. ios when it 
was still alive, that I remembered our sighting at Lore 
Lindu and I immediately realised that the bird we had 
seen matched them completely. Confused by the fact 
that, according to RD, two clearly different-looking birds 
were present in such close proximity, I admittedly at 
first was very sceptical about the validity of Cinnabar 
Hawk Owl. On 3 February the frontispiece 
accompanying Rasmussen (1999) was forwarded to me 
and I received the whole article about a week later. I 
immediately pointed out that if what we had seen indeed 
was N. ios, the plate did not do it entirely justice, 
particularly by lacking the fluffy quality of the 
underparts. Furthermore, as clearly illustrated by several 
photographs subsequently examined, I discovered that 
Ochre-bellied Hawk Owl can exhibit a pinkish orbital 
skin as in N. ios (contra Rasmussen 1999). On 9 February 
2000 RD and I compared the unique type of Cinnabar 
Hawk Owl with several adult Ninox ochracea at the 
National Museum of Natural History (NNM/Naturalis), 
Leiden, The Netherlands. Again we could not find any 
features in which the type differed from the bird we 
observed in the field. Also at this point RD for the first 
time admitted not really having looked properly at the 
first bird in his haste to alert me to its presence. Only 
from 23 February 2000 onwards, when Pamela C. 
Rasmussen kindly mailed digital images showing a fully 
grown juvenile Ochre-bellied Hawk Owl, we were 100% 
confident that at least the second bird we observed so 
well together, beyond any doubt was a Cinnabar Hawk 
Owl. 

Our sighting represents the first-ever field 
observation of the species avant la lettre, also more than 
600 km away from the type locality. A further locality, 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


SHORT NOTES 


119 


Gunung Ambang Strict Nature Reserve, fairly close to 
the type locality, has also recently been found (Lee and 
Riley in press in BirdLife International 2001, Riley and 
Mole this issue). 

I thank Raf Drijvers, Pamela C. Rasmussen and Frank G. Rozendaal 
for useful discussion and ReneW. R. J. Dekker for kind assistance in 
visiting the collection at the National Museum of Natural History 
(NNM/Naturalis), Leiden, The Netherlands. 


REFERENCES 

BirdLife International (2001) Threatened birds of Asia. Cambridge, 
U.K.: BirdLife International. 

Coates, B. J. and Bishop, K. D. (1997) A guide to the birds ofWallacea, 
Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia. Alderley: 
Dove Publications. 

Mauro, I. (1999) Preliminary report on birds recorded from Wallacea, 
Sulawesi, Moluccas & Lesser Sundas. 27th June 1998-07th April 
1999. Unpublished. 

Rasmussen, P. C. (1999) A new species of hawk-owl from North 
Sulawesi, Indonesia. Wilson Bull. Ill: 457-464. 


Iwein Mauro, Brouwerijstraat 29, B-9160 Lokeren, Belgium 


Interactions between the Greater Racket-tailed 
Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus and woodpeckers in a 

lowland Malaysian rainforest 

ALISON R. STYRING and KALAN ICKES 


In tropical regions numerous bird species have been 
documented following mixed-species foraging flocks or 
other vertebrates and capturing invertebrates flushed 
by the movement of these animals. Such behaviour is 
thought to benefit the following species by increasing 
their foraging efficiency (Croxall 1976, Powell 1985, 
Rodrigues el al. 1994). 

Drongos (family Dicruridae) are medium-sized, 
often glossy black, insectivorous birds found in a range 
of habitats from Africa to Asia, Australia, and the 
Solomon Islands (Perrins 1990). Of the approximately 
24 species of drongo, 17 have been documented 
associating with animal species ranging from ants to 
large mammals (Ali and Ripley 1987, Bannerman 1939, 
Beehler et al. 1986, Boonsong Lekagul and Round 1991, 
Coates and Bishop 1997, Croxall 1976, Dickinson et al. 
1991,Ganesh 1992, Greig-Smith 1978, Herremans and 
Herremans-Tonnoeyr 1997,Hino 1998, Jeyarajasingam 
and Pearson 1999, Mackinnon and Phillipps 1995, 
McClure 1967,Veena and Lokesha 1993, Willis 1983, 
Woodcock 1980, Zimmerman et al. 1996). For five 
species, observers specifically noted that these birds 
followed other animals to prey on arthropods and small 
vertebrates flushed by their movements. Studies in 
Africa and Madagascar have shown that rate of prey 
capture increased when drongos followed other species 
compared to when foraging alone (Greig-Smith 1978, 
Herremans and Herremans-Tonnoeyr 1997, Hino 1998, 
Veena and Lokesha 1993). 

The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus 
paradiseus is the most common drongo species resident 
in lowland forests inWest Malaysia. It has been reported 
as an occasional participant in mixed-species flocks, but 
its role in these flocks and the species with which they 
commonly associate have not been identified. McClure 
(1967) classified this species as a passive, or non¬ 


following, flock attendant, which suggests that it does 
not use other flock attendants as beaters. 

While studying the foraging ecology of woodpeckers 
in an aseasonal lowland dipterocarp rain forest at Pasoh 
Forest Reserve in West Malaysia (see Kochummen et 
al. 1990 for a description of the reserve and forest type), 
we noticed a frequent association among various species 
of woodpeckers and the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo. 
Subsequent to observing these apparently common 
associations, we followed every woodpecker or drongo 
seen or heard during the course of the field season and 
recorded the presence of other species and noted 
behaviour. We were thus able to determine the frequency 
with which Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and 
woodpeckers associated with one another and if certain 
species associated more frequently than others do. 

Of the 150 times woodpeckers were followed, Greater 
Racket-tailed Drongos were observed following them 
76 times (50.7% of the observations). We followed 
drongos 16 times; 13 times (81.3%) they were seen 
associating with other species and 8 times (61.2%) with 
woodpeckers. The three times that drongos were seen 
alone they were in groups of 3 or 4, and were not actively 
foraging. For 20 additional observations it was 
impossible to distinguish whether the initial cue was 
from a woodpecker or a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 
(for example, seeing a drongo and hearing a woodpecker 
tapping at the same time), suggesting that they may be 
associated more than 50% of the time. Some other 
animals that the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo foraged 
with less frequently were malkohas Phaenicophaeus , 
arboreal squirrels (Sciuridae), and leafbirds Chloropsis. 

While associating with woodpeckers, a drongo 
frequently perched within 5 m of the individual it was 
following, often below the bird on an open horizontal 
perch, and would periodically sally out near the 







120 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


woodpecker for a flushed arthropod. When a 
woodpecker moved to another tree, it was usually 
followed by the drongo. Drongos are aggressive birds, 
often mobbing larger birds (Maclean and Prys-Jones 
1988, Melville 1992, Nash and Nash 1985a, Nash and 
Nash 1985b), occasionally preying upon smaller bird 
species (Jayson and Ramachandran 1994, Sridharan and 
Sivasubramanian 1987,Young 1989), and, in some cases, 
stealing food from other species (Beasley 1988, 
Herremans and Herremans-Tonnoeyr 1997, King and 
Rappole this issue). We observed only one foraging 
agonistic encounter, between a Greater Racket-tailed 
Drongo and a Checker-throated Woodpecker Picus 
mentalis. During the encounter, the drongo sallied within 
10 cm of the woodpecker and beat the cowering 
woodpecker’s head with its wings while catching its prey. 

Our observations suggest that Greater Racket-tailed 
Drongos are frequent followers, and that they often 
forage on invertebrates flushed by the animals’ 
movements. At Pasoh Forest Reserve, they frequently 
associated with woodpeckers, which may be particularly 
good beaters for these large drongos. 

We are grateful to Dr. Abdul Razak, Director General of the For¬ 
estry Research Institute of Malaysia, for permission to conduct re¬ 
search at Pasoh Forest Reserve. J. V. Remsen, Jr made constructive 
comments on the manuscript. ARS was funded in part by: the Frank 
M. Chapman Memorial Fund from the American Museum of Natu¬ 
ral History, the Charles M. Fugler Fellowship in Tropical Vertebrate 
Biology from the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural 
Science, the LSU Museum of Natural Science Tropical Bird Re¬ 
search Fund, and the LSU Museum of Natural Science Research 
Award. KI was funded in part by a Grant-in-Aid of Research from 
the National Academy of Sciences, through Sigma Xi. 

REFERENCES 

Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D. (1987) Compact handbook of the birds of 
India and Pakistan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
Bannerman, D. A. (1939) The birds of tropical West Africa: with special 
reference to those of the Gambia, Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast and 
Nigeria. London: The Crown Agents for the Colonies. 

Beasley, A. (1988) Fork-tailed Drongo robbing hoopoe of food. 
Honeyguide 34: 126. 

Beehler, B., Pratt, T.K. and Zimmerman, D. A. (1986) Birds of New 
Guinea. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 

Boonsong Lekagul and Round, P. D. (1991) A guide to the birds of 
Thailand. Bangkok: Saha Karn Bhaet. 

Coates, B. J. and Bishop, K. D. (1997) A guide to the birds ofWallacea: 
Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia. Alderley: 
Dove Publications. 

Croxall, J. P. (1976) The composition and behaviour of some mixed- 
species bird flocks in Sarawak. Ibis 118: 333-346. 

Dickinson, E. C., Kennedy, R. S. and Parkes, K. C. (1991) The birds 
of the Philippines. Tring: British Ornithologists’ Union (Check¬ 
list No. 12). 


Ganesh, T. (1992) A silent association. J. Bombay Nat:Hist. Soc. 89: 
374. 

Greig-Smith, P. W. (1978) The formation, structure and function of 
mixed-species insectivorous bird flocks in West African savanna 
woodland. Ibis 120: 284-297. 

Herremans, M. and Herremans-Tonnoeyr, D. (1997) Social forag¬ 
ing in the Forktailed Drongo Dicrurus forficatus: beater effect or 
kleptoparasitism? Bird Behaviour 12: 41-45. 

Hino, T. (1998) Mutualistic and commensal organization of avian 
mixed-species foraging flocks in a forest of western Madagascar. 
J. Avian Biol. 29: 17-24. 

Jayson, E. A. and Ramachandran, K. K. (1994) Indian Black Drongo 
Dicrurus adsimilis (Bechstein) feeding on a small bird. J. Bombay 
Nat. Hist. Soc. 91: 320. 

Jeyarajasingam, A. and Pearson, A. (1999) A field guide to the birds of 
West Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Kochummen, K. M., LaFrankie, J. V. and Manokaran, N. (1990) 
Floristic composition of Pasoh Forest Reserve, a lowland rain 
forest in Peninsular Malaysia. J. Trop. Forest Sci. 3: 1-13. 

McClure, H. E. (1967) The composition of mixed species flocks in 
lowland and sub-montane forests of Malaya. Wilson Bull. 79:131- 
154. 

Mackinnon, J. and Phillipps, K. (1995) A field guide to the birds of 
Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Maclean, G. L. and Prys-Jones, R. P. (1988) Kleptoparasitism in 
three species of passerine birds. Ostrich. 59: 45-47. 

Melville, D. S. (1992) Intense mobbing by a Black Drongo Dicrurus 
macrocercus. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 88: 285. 

Nash, A. D. and Nash, S.V. (1985a) An extreme example of aggres¬ 
sion displayed by Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus 
paradiseus. Kukila 2:7. 

Nash, A. D. and Nash, S.V. (1985b) Large Frogmouth Batrachostomus 
auritus, mobbed by a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus 
paradiseus. Kukila 2: 67. 

Perrins, C. M. (1990) The illustrated encyclopedia of birds: the definitive 
reference to birds of the world. J. Elphick, ed. London: Marshall 
Editions Developments, Ltd. 

Powell, G. V. N. (1985) Sociobiology and adaptive significance of 
interspecific foraging flocks in the Neotropics. Ornithol. Monogr. 
36: 713-732. 

Rodrigues, M., Machado, C. G., Alvares, S. M. R. and Galetti, M. 
(1994) Association of the Black-goggled Tanager ( Trichothraupis 
melanops ) with flushers. Biotropica 26: 472-475. 

Sridharan, U. and Sivasubramanian, C. (1987) Additional records 
of the Black Drongo ( Dicrurus adsimilis ) feeding on birds. J. 
Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 83: 212-213. 

Veena,T. and Lokesha, R. (1993) Association of drongos with myna 
flocks: are drongos benefited? J. Biosci. 18: 111-119. 

Willis, E. O. (1983) Flycatchers, cotingas and drongos (Tyrannidae, 
Muscicapidae, Cotingidae and Dicruridae) as ant followers. Le 
Gerfaut 73: 265-280. 

Woodcock, M. (1980) Collins handguide to the birds of the Indian sub¬ 
continent: including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and 
Nepal. London: Collins. 

Young, L. (1989) Black Drongo taking wren-warbler sp. at Mai Po. 
Hong Kong Bird Report 1988: 1 18-120. 

Zimmerman, D. A., Turner, D. A. and Pearson, D. J. (1996) Birds of 
Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Princeton: Princeton University 
Press. 


Alison R. Styring, Lousiana State University Museum of Natural Science and Department of Biological Sciences, 119 
Foster Hall, Baton Rouge, Lousiana, 70803, U.S.A; email: astyrin@unixl.sncc.lsu.edu 

Kalan lekes, Louisiana State University Department of Biological Sciences, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70803, U.S.A. 



Forktail 17 (2001) 


121 


Kleptoparasitism of laughingthrushes Garrulax 
by Greater Racket-tailed Drongos 
Dicrurus paradiseus in Myanmar 

DAVID I. KING AND JOHN H. RAPPOLE 


Drongos Dicrurus of several species are known to occur 
in mixed-species flocks during the non-breeding season. 
In India, the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus 
paradiseus has been found in flocks with Greater 
Yellownapes Picus flavinucha (Bates 1952), and the Black 
Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus frequently associates with 
Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis (Dewar 1904,Veenah 
and Lokesha 1993). In addition. Crested Drongos 
Dicrurus forficatus attend mixed-species foraging flocks 
in Madagascar (Hino 1998). Other observations of 
drongos foraging in mixed-species foraging flocks 
suggest that drongos benefit from enhanced foraging 
success in flocks by exploiting arthropod prey flushed 
by flockmates (Bates 1952, Dewar 1904, Veenah and 
Lokesha 1993) or by kleptoparasitizing flockmates (Hino 
1998). We studied Greater Racket-tailed Drongos in 
Myanmar to determine if we could observe behavioural 
interactions between drongos and their flock-mates that 
might explain the basis of their association. 

The study was conducted from 16-29 January 1999 
at Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary (23°43’N 95°31’E), 
located roughly 160 km NNW of Mandalay in 
Myanmar’s Central Dry Zone. The vegetation at the 
sanctuary is mostly dry deciduous Indaing forest 
dominated by Dipterocarpus tuberculifer, but also includes 
mixed deciduous forest composed of various evergreen 
and deciduous species (Salter and Sayer 1983, McShea 
et al. 1999, Nay Myo Shwe et al. 1999). Bird flocks 
were located by walking slowly (ca 1.5 km hr' 1 ) through 
the forest, watching for movement and listening for 
vocalizations of common flock associates. Once a flock 
was located, it was followed as long as possible. 
Observations were conducted with the aid of 8x42 
binoculars. Because these flocks occupy home ranges 
that are fairly stable over time (King and Rappole 2001), 
and observers avoided revisiting portions of the 
sanctuary in which drongo flocks had already been 
followed, we are confident that the observations of 
drongos described below represent separate individuals. 

We encountered Greater Racket-tailed Drongos nine 
times, once as a single individual, once with another 
conspecific accompanying a Common Flameback 
Dinopium javanense, and the remaining seven times as 
single individuals accompanying mixed-species foraging 
flocks containing laughingthrushes. Up to 40 Greater 
and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes ( Garrulax 
pectoralis and G. monileger) (average 17.1 + 4.14 SE), as 
well as eight other less common species, together 
comprising < 15% of all individuals (King and Rappole 
2001), were present in these flocks. We observed six 
attacks by drongos on laughingthrushes during a total 
of 346 min of observation, (mean time/flock = 58 min 
±16 SE). On 26 January we observed one drongo 
attacking laughingthrushes five times, and on 28 January 


we observed another drongo attack a laughingthrush 
once. In all of these instances, attacks were initiated from 
low perches (1-2 m above ground) and delivered at 
laughingthrushes foraging on the ground. Attacks were 
followed by chases lasting from a few seconds to over a 
minute, during which the drongo would either strike 
the laughingthrush in flight and drive it to the ground, 
or chase the bird in circuitous flights through the 
understorey or even up into the lower canopy. We were 
unable to discern with certainty whether or not drongos 
were successful in stealing food items during these 
chases, although we did observe one instance in which 
the laughingthrush being pursued had a large prey item, 
probably a grasshopper, in its bill. We also observed 
seven foraging manoeuvres by drongos that were 
directed at prey not in the possession of 
laughingthrushes. Of these, three were directed at the 
ground, and the remainder were directed at airborne 
prey an average of 7.07 m (+ 0.71 SE) above the ground. 
One successful foraging manoeuvre yielded what 
appeared to be a large grasshopper. 

We heard drongos emit what appeared to be alarm 
calls on two occasions. During the first instance, on 28 
January 1999, a drongo that had been accompanying a 
mixed-species flock for some time was observed on a 
perch 1.5 m above the ground, with its neck stretched 
downward and outer tail feathers flicking outwards, 
giving a loud, harsh kraaak kraaak kraaak evidently at 
something below it on the ground. As the drongo called, 
laughingthrushes flew up from where they had been 
foraging on the ground to low perches nearby. On 29 
January 1999 a drongo perched roughly 2 m above the 
ground dove towards the ground and then banked into 
a low, horizontal flight away from the observer, while 
emitting a loud E-gek-gek-gek, at which several, nearby 
laughingthrushes flushed from the ground, and flew off 
in the same direction as the drongo. 

Other authors have suggested that drongos attending 
foraging flocks benefit from increased availability of prey 
flushed by flockmates (Dewar 1904, Bates 1952,Veena 
and Lokesha 1993). In contrast, we observed that nearly 
half of drongo foraging manoeuvres were apparent 
kleptoparasitic attacks on laughingthrushes, suggesting 
that kleptoparasitism is a potentially important benefit 
derived by Greater Racket-tailed Drongos from 
participation in mixed species flocks. Reports of 
kleptoparasitism in Passeriformes are relatively 
uncommon (Brockman and Barnard 1979), although 
Dewar (1904) observed Black Drongos 
kleptoparasitizing mynas, and Hino (1998) reported that 
Crested Drongos in mixed-species flocks in Madagascar 
kleptoparasitize flock mates extensively.The association 
between Greater Racket-tailed Drongos and 
laughingthrushes, and perhaps other drongo species and 







122 


Forktail 17 (2001) 


their flock-mates, have several characteristics which 
favour the evolution of this behaviour, including the 
propensity to forage in mixed-species flocks, large 
concentrations of host species, large high-quality food 
items (grasshoppers), and the acrobatic flying ability of 
Greater Racket-tailed Drongos (Brockman and Barnard 
1979). 

Laughingthrushes might benefit from the vigilance 
of drongos despite their attacks (Veena and Lokesha 
1993). The ability of ground-foraging laughingthrushes 
to maintain effective surveillance for predators may be 
particularly limited by the deep leaf-litter in Indaing 
forest, which is dominated by tree species with 
exceptionally large leaves. Drongo kleptoparasitic 
activities require that they stay near laughingthrushes 
on perches that provide effective sites for monitoring 
laughingthrush foraging; these perches are incidentally 
effective sites from which to observe approaching 
predators (Veena and Lokesha 1993). Our observations 
that, on two occasions, drongos evidently signalled 
predator presence by vocalizing, to which 
laughingthrushes responded by flushing off from the 
ground, lend some support to this explanation. Other 
authors have reported the existence of interspecifically 
effective alarm calls within mixed-species bird flocks 
(MacDonald and Henderson 1977, Munn andTerborgh 
1979, Powell 1985), and it has been suggested that some 
birds flock preferentially with species that are more 
vigilant to benefit from their alarm behaviour (Wiley 
1971, Greig-Smith 1981, Powell 1985, Hino 1998). 

Substantial effort has been expended in the study of 
the costs and benefits of participation in mixed species 
flocks. Our observation of Greater Racket-tailed 
Drongos foraging with laughingthrush flocks provides 
further insight as to the potential benefits conferred to 
birds by participating in mixed-species flocks. However, 
it should be noted that our observations are based on a 
very small number of birds, studied for a short duration. 
Further investigations of drongo kleptoparasitism, that 
include an analysis of the costs and benefits, would 
provide an important additional step into understanding 
the contribution this behaviour makes to drongo fitness, 
and thus, to providing a more general understanding of 
the evolution of kleptoparasitism in this and other bird 
species (Brockman and Barnard 1979). 


We would like to acknowledge the help and support of the following 
individuals: C.Wemmer,W. McShea, C. Pickett, Uga, Nay Myo Swe, 
Lei Lei Hnin, Thida Swe, Thein Win, Myint Aung, Khyne U Mar. 
This manuscript benefited from comments from B. Byers and D. 
Kluza, and discussion with E. Goodale. We would also like to thank 
the Forestry Ministry and the Nature and Wildlife Conservation 
Division (especially Director Uga) of the Forestry Department of 
Burma, in particular. This research was made possible by support 
from the Friends of the National Zoo, the National Geographic So¬ 
ciety, and British Airways. 


REFERENCES 

Bates, R. S. P. (1952) A possible association between the Yellow- 
naped Woodpecker (Picus flavinucha) and the Large Racket-tailed 
Drongo ( Dissemerus paradiseus). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 50: 
941-942. 

Brockman, H. J. and Barnard, C. J. (1979) Kleptoparasitism in birds. 
Animal Behaviour 27: 487-514. 

Dewar, I. C. S. (1904) King-crows and mynahs as mess-mates. J. 
Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 16: 364-366. 

Greig-Smith, P. W. (1981) The role of alarm responses in the forma¬ 
tion of mixed-species flocks of heathland birds. Behav. Ecol. and 
Sociobiol. 8: 7-10. 

Hino, T. (1998) Mutualistic and commensal organization of avian 
mixed-species foraging flocks in a forest in western Madagascar. 
J. Avian Biol. 29: 17-24. 

King, D. I. and Rappole, J. H. (2001) Mixed-species bird flocks in 
dipterocarp forest of north-central Burma (Myanmar). Ibis 143: 
380-390. 

MacDonald, D. W. and Henderson, D. G. (1977) Aspects of the 
behaviour and ecology of mixed-species birds flocks in Kashmir. 
Ibis 119: 481-493. 

McShea, W. J., Leimgruber, P., Myint Aung, Monfort, S. L. and 
Wemmer, C. (1999) Range collapse of a tropical cervid ( Cervus 
eldi) and the extent of remaining habitat in central Myanmar. 
Animal Conserv. 2: 173-183. 

Munn, C. A. andTerborgh, J. W. (1979) Multi-species territoriality 
in Neotropical foraging flocks. Condor 81: 338-347. 

Nay Myo Shwe, Thida Swe, Lei Lei Hnin, HteinWin and Rappole, 
J. H. (1999) A guide to the birds of Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary, 
Union of Burma. Smithsonian Conservation and Research Cen¬ 
ter, Front Royal, Virginia, USA. 

Powell, G. V. N. (1985) Sociobiology and adaptive significance of 
interspecific foraging flocks in the neotropics. Ornithol. Monogr. 
36: 313-372. 

Salter, R. E. and Sayer, J. A. (1983) Yatthin Wildlife Sanctuary: Draft 
management plan. United Nations Development Programme, 
Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome. FO:BUR/80/006 
Field Document 6/83. 

Veena, T. and Lokesha, R. (1993) Association of drongos with myna 
flocks: Are drongos benefited? J. Biosci. 18: 111-119. 

Wiley, R. H. (1971) On cooperative roles in mixed flocks of antwrens 
(Formicariidae). Auk 88: 881-892. 


David I. King*, USDA Forest Service Northeastern Research Station, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts 
01003, U. S.A; email: seiurus@yahoo. com 

John H. Rappole, Smithsonian Conservation and Research Center, 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal, VA 22630, U.S.A. 
Corresponding Author 





Forktail 17 


2001 


Guidelines for contributors 


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Campbell, B. and Lack, E. eds. (1985) A dictionary of birds. 

Calton (Staffordshire, U.K.):T. and A. D. Poyser. 

King, B. F., Dickinson, E. C. and Woodcock, M. W. (1975) A 
field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. London: Collins. 
Kuroda, Nh., ed. (1984) Ketteiban seibutsu daizukan;chorui [Il¬ 
lustrations of animals and plants: birds] .Tokyo: Sekai Bunkasha. 
(In Japanese.) 

Rosljakov, G. E. (1985) [‘Information on the distribution and 
numbers of Aix galericulata and Mergus squamatus over 
ChabarovskTerritory.’] Pp. 101-102 in N. M. Litvinenko, 
ed. Rare and endangered birds of the Far Fast. Vladivostok: 
Far East Science Center, Academy of Sciences of the USSR. 
(In Russian.) 

SienYao-hua, Kuan Kuan-Hstin and Zheng Zuo-xin (1964) 
[‘An avifaunal survey of the Chinghai province.’] Acta Zool. 
Sinica 16: 690-709. (In Chinese.) 

Smythies, B. E. (1981) The birds of Borneo. Third edition. Kota 
Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur: The Sabah Society and the 
Malayan Nature Society. 

Somadikarta, S. (1986) Collocalia linchi Horsfield & Moore - a 
revision. Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 106: 32-40. 

White, C. M. N. and Bruce, M. D. (1986) The birds of Wallacea 
(Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia): 
an annotated check-list. London: British Ornithologists’ 
Union (Check-list no. 7). 

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No. 18 August 2002 











Tne Natural* 

hjstohy museum 

12 SEP 2002 

PURCHAS6D 
TR1NG LiSRAHV 




























Forktail 18 


2002 


OBC Council 

Tim Allwood (Bulletin Editor) 

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Tim Allwood (Bulletin Editor), David Blakesley (Manag¬ 
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Collar, Tim Inskipp (Consulting Editor, Forktail), Adrian 
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Robert Kennedy (USA) 

Jonathan Eames and Nguyen Cu (Vietnam) 


The Oriental Bird Club has been established for or¬ 
nithologists throughout the world, both amateur and 
professional, who share a common interest in the re¬ 
gion’s birds and wish to assist in their conservation. 

The Club aims to: 

♦ Encourage an interest in the birds of the Oriental 
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Cover picture: Adult Male Red-backed Thrush Zoothera erythronota kabaena 
From an oil Painting by John Gale. 


ISSN 0950-1746 
© Oriental Bird Club 2002 





Forktail 18 


2002 


FORKTAIL 

-Sj-, j ~Y, ‘ - 

| history museum I 

Number 18, 2002 

I 12 SEP 2002 I 

CONTENTS 

l AS£D I 


J. C. ROBINSON-DEAN, K. R. WILLMOTT, M. J. CATTERALL, D. J. KELLY, A. WHITTINGTON, B. PHALAN, N. 
M. MARPLES and D. R. S. BOEADI 

A new subspecies of Red-backed Thrush Zoothera erythronota kabaena subsp. nov. (Muscicapidae: Turdidae) from 


Kabaena island, Indonesia. 1 

J.W. DUCKWORTH, P. DAVIDSON, T. D. EVANS, P. D. ROUND and R. J. TIMMINS 

Bird records from Laos, principally the Upper Lao/Thai Mekong and Xiangkhouang Province, in 1998-2000 . 11 

ANDREW WTORDOFF 

Raptor migration at Hoang Lien Nature Reserve, northern Vietnam. 45 

COLIN R. TRAINOR 

Birds of Gunung Tambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia: effects of altitude, the 1815 cataclysmic volcanic eruption 

and trade . 49 

B. ZETRA, A. RAFIASTANTO, W. M. ROMBANG and C. R. TRAINOR 

Rediscovery of the Critically Endangered Sumatran Ground Cuckoo Carpococcyx viridis . 63 

JONATHAN C. EAMES, FRANK D. STEINHEIMER and ROS BANSOK 

A collection of birds from the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia, including a new subspecies of Arborophila 
cambodiana . 67 

DESMOND ALLEN 

A bird survey of the Amarpur area of the Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve, Assam, India . 87 

COLIN R. TRAINOR 

The birds of Adonara, Lesser Sundas, Indonesia. 93 

GRAHAM TEBB and ANDREAS RANNER 

New and significant bird records from Buryatia, Russia. 101 

ROBERT S. R. WILLIAMS 

The rediscovery and doubtful validity of the Blue-wattled Bulbul Pycnonotus nieuwenhuisii .107 

A. J. LONG and N. J. COLLAR 

Distribution, status and natural history of the Bornean Ground Cuckoo Carpococcyx radiatus .Ill 

N. J. COLLAR and S. VAN BALEN 

The Blue-tailed Trogon Harpactes ( Apalharpactes ) reinwardtii: species limits and conservation status . 121 

F. R. LAMBERT and N. J. COLLAR 

The future for Sundaic lowland forest birds: long-term effects of commercial logging and fragmentation. 127 


Short Notes 
NIGEL CLEERE 


The original citation of Jerdon’s Nightjar Caprimulgus atripennis (Caprimulgidae) . 147 

ANDREW W.TORDOFF 

Ashy Wood Pigeon Columba pulchricollis: a new species for Vietnam . 147 

H.S.A.YAHYA and ASHFAQ AHMAD 

White Tern Gygis alba sighted at Narcondam Island, Bay of Bengal, India. 148 

K. SIVAKUMAR and R. SANKARAN 

New records of birds from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 149 

ASHOKVERMA 

A large roost of Eurasian Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus at Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India. 150 

A. P. SINGH 

New and significant records from Dehra Dun valley, lower Garhwal Himalayas, India. 151 

MARLYNN M. MENDOZA, GEORGE R. REYES and MEDARDO MEDEL EDUARTE 

Rediscovery of Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor in the Philippines. 153 

J.W K. PARR, P. J. BENSTEAD and J. A.TOBIAS 

A first nest record for the Fruithunter Chlamydochaera jefferyi .154 

PAUL N. NEWTON 

Bird records from the Siang River valley, Arunachal Pradesh, India. 156 

PER UNDELAND and HARKIRAT SINGH SANGHA 

Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos: a new species for the Indian subcontinent. 157 

MA MING and WANG QISHAN 

New records of Corncrake Crex crex in Xinjiang, China . 158 

ROYKE MANATA 

Observations at a nest of the Grey-headed Imperial Pigeon Ducula radiata .159 


Guidelines for contributors 


inside back cover 












































FORKTAIL 18 (2002): 1-10 


A new subspecies of Red-backed Thrush 
Zoothera erythronota kabaena subsp. nov. 
(Muscicapidae: Turdidae), 
from Kabaena island, Indonesia 

J. C. ROBINSON-DEAN, K. R. WILLMOTT, M. J. CATTERALL, D. J. KELLY, 

A. WHITTINGTON, B. PHALAN, N. M. MARPLES and D. R. S. BOEADI 


A new subspecies of Red-backed Thrush Zoothera erythronota (Sclater 1859), Zoothera erythronota 
kabaena subsp. nov., is described from Kabaena island in Indonesia. The adult plumage of nine 
specimens captured at two localities on Kabaena island, and other individuals seen in the field, 
differs consistently and significantly from that of the nominate subspecies on Sulawesi, which lies 
18 km north of Kabaena island. Variation in the nominate subspecies and rationale for the choice 
of taxonomic rank for this new taxon are discussed. The known vocalisations, ecology, behaviour, 
distribution and habitat of the taxon are described and its conservation status discussed. Zoothera 
erythronota kabaena is known from forest and forest edge habitats on Kabaena island, where it can 
be locally common. 


INTRODUCTION 

Indonesia’s Sulawesi region is part of the unique and 
extremely diverse faunistic region ofWallacea, named 
after the naturalist and explorer Alfred Russel Wallace, 
who made the first attempt to understand its 
biogeographic complexities (Wallace 1860, 1869). 
Wallacea is noted for its variety of habitats and high 
levels of endemism; the Sulawesi region alone supports 
sixteen endemic avian genera and 97 species (ICBP 
1992, Coates and Bishop 1997). However, only 3.6% 
ofWallacea’s land area enjoys protected status (McNeely 
et al. 1990), and rapid rates of forest clearance, combined 
with considerable trapping pressures on many bird, 
mammal and reptile species, may result in numerous 
extinctions in the near future if appropriate action is 
not taken immediately. 

Operation Wallacea is a charitable organisation that 
has been involved since the mid-1990s in ecotourism, 
social science and biological research projects in the 
relatively poorly known south-eastern region of Sulawesi. 
Extensive surveys of the bird fauna of Buton island have 
been completed by a number of ornithologists working 
for Operation Wallacea, while other islands, such as 
‘[almost] ornithologically unknown’ Kabaena island 
(White and Bruce 1986: 56), have begun to be explored 
(Figs. 1-2). In September 1999, a small team of 
ornithologists (including MJC, DJK, BP and NMM), 
made some of the first observations of birds on Kabaena 
island during a visit of four weeks. A number of 
individuals of a bird taxon similar to Red-backedThrush 
Zoothera erythronota (Sclater 1859), endemic to the 
Sulawesi region, were sighted by this team in remnant 
patches of forest and highly degraded secondary growth 
near the villages of Rahadopi andTangkeno, and along 
the road connecting these two localities (Fig. 2). NMM 
glimpsed a single bird on 9 September aboveTangkeno, 
and two days later MJC observed a bird feeding on the 
roadside on the edge of Rahadopi village. Later, near 
Tangkeno, MJC and volunteers observed another bird 


for 15 minutes. Descriptions from these several sightings 
suggested that the taxon might differ significantly from 
the nominate subspecies, and resulted in the account 
of the Kabaena taxon that appears in Clement et al. 
(2000). Attempts to mist-net specimens of the bird 
resulted in the capture of a single individual at the village 
of Rahadopi, by DJK, NMM and BP. This individual 
was a juvenile (Figs. 3e,f; see Discussion) and, while it 
showed some differences from typical Z. erythronota , 
additional adult specimens were necessary to assess the 
taxonomic status of this Kabaena population. 

Further ornithological fieldwork for Operation 
Wallacea was conducted in 2000 on Buton, mainland 
south-eastern Sulawesi and Kabaena, by JR-D (10 
weeks, also including Tukangbesi islands) and MJC (3 
weeks). This included a variety of habitats, ranging from 
sea-level to 1,400 m (the latter on Kabaena). One goal 
of JR-D’s work was to mist-net specimens of several 
potentially distinct taxa reported by earlier expeditions 
throughout the area, and to assess their taxonomic 
status, including the Zoothera on Kabaena.Ten days were 
spent in the Tangkeno area of central Kabaena by JR- 
D, MJC and several volunteers, attempting to locate 
appropriate sites to capture specimens of the Zoothera , 
and three individuals were mist-netted by JR-D. These 
specimens confirmed that this was indeed a distinctive 
taxon, differing consistently in plumage from the 
nominate subspecies. 

Subsequent museum research confirmed that the 
taxon was definitely undescribed and not represented 
in museum collections. Given its apparently restricted 
range, the option of describing the taxon based on 
available photographs and blood specimens alone was 
seriously explored. However, after discussion with other 
ornithologists, including Nigel Collar (BirdLife 
International, Cambridge) and Robert Prys-Jones 
(Natural History Museum, Tring), and considering the 
number of sightings of the taxon at several localities on 
Kabaena, it was deemed preferable to obtain museum 
voucher specimens. In 2001, therefore, JR-D returned 





J. C. ROBINSON-DEAN et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 



Figure 1. Indo-Malaya, Wallacea and New Guinea. Ranges of related Zoothera taxa are shown, based on Coates and Bishop 
(1997). 



Figure 2. The south-eastern Sulawesi region, showing known localities for Z. erythronota. Latitude and longitude data are 
given in the text for Kabaena localities, but are not available for Buton and mainland localities. 





































































































Forktail 18 (2002) 


A new subspecies of Red-backed Thrush from Kabaena island, Indonesia 


3 


to Kabaena to collect these specimens, joining DJK and 
volunteers already in the field. 

The purpose of this paper is to describe and name 
this new taxon. We hope that, by so doing, attention 
will also be drawn to an area which still remains 
ornithologically very poorly known, and therefore no 
doubt contains other unique animal and plant taxa. 

METHODS 

Ornithological surveys of Buton island have been 
conducted by Operation Wallacea staff (including MJC, 
DJK, BP, NMM and JR-D) and volunteers since 1995, 
totalling approximately 24 team-months. In 1999 and 
2000, both quantitative and qualitative surveys were 
conducted on Kabaena, in addition to Buton island, 
the Tukangbesi islands and mainland south-eastern 
Sulawesi (2000 only) (Fig. 1). Birds were recorded by 
sight and call, typically along line transects, from just 
prior to dawn until the late morning, and again from 
14h30 until dusk. Species presence and abundance, 
along with other ecological data, were recorded. 

Because of the records of possibly distinctive Zoothera 
taxa on both Buton and Kabaena islands, special efforts 
were made to observe and capture specimens of this 
species for closer examination. The species is naturally 
very shy and seldom seen since it frequents the forest 
understorey, so mist-nets were used to trap specimens. 
All specimens captured by JR-D were obtained after 
locating apparent territories and flight paths, to guide 
effective placement of up to three mist-nets (9 m, 12 m 
and 18 m) at any site, with the lowest shelf at ground 
level. 

During the 1999 and 2000 research visits, detailed 
notes, photographs and measurements were taken from 
all captured specimens. Feathers were taken and stored 
both dry and in DMSO (in 1999) and blood samples 
were taken from the brachial vein and stored in 97% 
ethanol (in 2000) or 20% DMSO, 0.25 M EDTA, 
NaCL sat., pH 8.0 (in 2001) for molecular analysis. 
Photographs were taken of the head and back, tail, 
underside (breast, throat, flanks and vent), and upper- 


and underside of the extended wings. After processing 
in the field, specimens were marked (by removing a small 
section of the inner web of one of the rectrices) and 
released at the capture site. 

In 2001, the two type specimens were collected using 
three 18m nets and one 9 m net, and four other captured 
individuals were examined as in previous visits.The latter 
four birds were marked and released. The two 
individuals taken as specimens (one male, one female) 
were skinned and dried, the sex organs examined and 
sized, the stomach contents stored in 98% ethanol, and 
skull ossification noted. The full skeleton of the female 
was also preserved. 

To assess the taxonomic importance of phenotypic 
variation in Z. erythronota, JR-D examined museum 
specimens of this species (Z. e. erythronota and Z. e. 
mendeni [Neumann, 1939]) and related taxa, including 
Chestnut-backed Thrush Zoothera dohertyi (Hartert, 
1896) (found in the Lesser Sundas and formerly placed 
as a subspecies of Z. erythronota ) and Chestnut-capped 
Thrush Zoothera interpres (Temminck, 1826) (found in 
the Greater Sundas, Lesser Sunda islands, and 
Philippines; Fig. l).The collections visited and acronyms 
used in the text are as follows: AMNH, American 
Museum of Natural History, New York, U.S.A.; NHM, 
Natural History Museum,Tring, U.K.; MZB, Museum 
Zoologicum Bogoriense, Bogor, Indonesia; NMS, 
National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, U.K.; 
SMTD, Staatliches Museum fur Tierkunde, Dresden, 
Germany; USNM, National Museum of Natural 
History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, U.S.A.; 
and ZMB, Zoologisches Museum, Humboldt 
Universitat, Berlin, Germany. 


DESCRIPTION 

Zoothera erythronota kabaena , subsp. nov. 

Types 

Holotype (Figs. 3a,4): Museum registration # MZB 
30.363, male, adult, 4 September 2001, llhOO, 



Figure 3. Zoothera eyrthronota kabaena: (a) holotype male, upperside (JR-D); (b) paratype female, upperside (JR-D); 
(c) paratype female, lateral view (JR-D); (d) paratype female, upperside of tail (JR-D); (e) juvenile (bird #1) (BP); 
(f) same juvenile, lateral view (BP). 





4 


J. C. ROBINSON-DEAN et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Head variation in Z.e. erythronota 



Z.e. erythronota 


kabaena 


Z.e. kabaena 


kabaena 


Z.e. kabaena 


Figure 4. Zoothera erythronota : top left and top, Z. e. erythronota, adult male and head variation; middle right, middle left, 
Z. e. kabaena and flying bird, male; bottom, Z. e. kabaena, female. By John Gale. 





Forktail 18 (2002) 


A new subspecies of Red-backed Thrush from Kabaena island, Indonesia 


5 


Indonesia, Sulawesi subregion, Pulau Kabaena 
(Kabaena Island), Tangkeno, 4 km south (5°17’27”S 
121°54’33”E), 431 m, collected by Julia Robinson-Dean 
(bird #6).Top panel (c.2 m from ground) 18 m net at 
foot of slope. Specimen deposited in MZB. Muscle 
tissue samples and stomach (sample 1) deposited in 
NMS. 

Paraxype (Fig. 3b-d,4): Museum registration # MZB 
30.364, female, adult, 3 September 2001, 10h30, 
Indonesia, Sulawesi subregion, Pulau Kabaena 
(Kabaena Island), Tangkeno, 4 km south (5°17’27”S 
121°54’33”E), 470 m, collected by Julia Robinson-Dean 
(bird #5). Bottom panel 18 m net on ridge-top. 
Specimen in MZB, to be deposited in NMS, full 
skeleton, muscle tissue samples and stomach (sample 
2) deposited in NMS. 

Adult male: Holotype (Figs. 3a,4): Maxilla (from skull) 

20.5 mm; bill width at nares 6.8 mm; tarsus 32.1 mm; 
wing (max. chord) 115 mm; tail 83 mm; tail tip to wing 
tip 32 mm; weight at capture 59.0 g. Fat score 3 (EFF 
system). Larger testis: 4 mm by 1.5 mm. Not in breeding 
condition. Skull not completely ossified. 

Plutnage: Upperparts Forehead and entire crown 
black to base of feathers. Feathers on nape black with 
chestnut tips. Mantle feathers proximally black, narrowly 
fringed chestnut. Upper back and upper lower back: 
feathers black proximally with narrow chestnut fringes. 
Lower back and rump: chestnut, proximally grey. 
Uppertail-coverts: chestnut. Tail: Upper surface of tail 
feathers black. Feathers 1, 2 and 3 completely black. 
Feather 4 with minute white spot at tip. Feather 5 with 
white tip extending up inner web 9.5 mm and outer 
web 4.3 mm. Feather 6 with extensive white tip 
extending up inner web 38.5 mm and outer web 14.8 
mm. Wing: Lesser coverts black. Median coverts 
proximally black with broad white tips, extending up 
shaft to a maximum of 14.1 mm. Greater coverts black 
proximally with white tips increasing in size from 
feathers 9 to 1 (following secondary numbering). 
Primary coverts black. Alula 1 (smallest) black with fine 
white outer margin to outer web, alula 2 with small 
white/grey spot on outer web 4 mm long and 1.5 mm 
wide, alula 3 outer web with broad white patch 13.7 
mm long and maximum of 4 mm wide. Primaries 
(numbered descendantly, i.e. starting at innermost): all 
feather shafts black. Inner and outer webs proximally 
white, more extensive on PP 6 to 1. PP 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4 
outer web edged white above notch, not meeting shaft. 
PP 4 to 1 outer web proximally white to shaft, PP 7, 6 
and 5 having inner web proximally white not meeting 
shaft, PP 4 to 1 with inner web proximally white to shaft. 
Secondaries: black feathers proximally white extending 
further on inner webs than outer webs, creating wing- 
bar. Wing-bar 16.4 mm wide below underwing-coverts. 
Tertials: S9 black with small white patch on tip of outer 
web, S8 black with fine white margin on outer web, and 
S7 black, proximally grey/white. Wing formula: P10 21 
mm >alula 3. Wing point P7; P9 falls between P4 and 
P5. P6 = WP-0.6 mm, P8 =WP-2.9 mm, P5 = WP-4.2 
mm, P9 = WP-9.9 mm, P4 = WP-11.2 mm, P3 =WP- 

17.5 mm, P2 = WP-21.5 mm, PI = WP-24.3 mm. 
Emarginations on outer web measured from tip: P8 
(43.3 mm), P7 (38.9 mm), P6 (31.9 mm), P5 (23.4 


mm). Notches on inner web measured from tip: P9 (32.0 
mm), P8 (32.2 mm), P7 (31.4 mm), P6 (22.6 mm). 

Plumage: Underparts Face predominantly black. Eye¬ 
ring broken, having white feathers with black shafts 
behind eye, and just in front extending to lores. Base of 
sub-moustachial stripe white. Patch of grey bare skin 
immediately behind white eye-ring extending 9.1 mm. 
Ear-coverts white behind cheek and below eye. Chin 
and throat black. Upper part of breast with white breast- 
band. Breast to belly with white feathers narrowly tipped 
with black. Lower belly and vent white. Undertail- 
coverts white. Flanks: white, feathers with black 
scalloped tips as on breast. Underside of tail slate-grey. 
Wing: Lesser underwing-coverts white with black tips. 
Median underwing-coverts white narrowly tipped black. 
Greater underwing-coverts black, broadly tipped white. 
Greater primary underwing-coverts slate-grey. Lesser 
primary underwing-coverts black, edged and tipped 
white. Axillaries white, tipped black. Underside of PP 
and SS slate-grey. 

Bare parts Orbital ring dark grey. Bill pale grey, darker 
at nares. Legs flesh-pink. Iris dark brown. Gape grey. 
Tongue pink. 

Adult female: Paratype (Fig. 3b-d): Maxilla (from 
skull) 20.1 mm; bill width at nares 7.6 mm; tarsus 32.8 
mm; wing (max. chord) 115 mm; tail 83 mm; tail-tip to 
wing-tip 32 mm; weight at capture 52.9 g. Fat score 2. 
Largest ovary: 1.1 mm diameter. Skull completely 
ossified. 

Plumage: Upperparts Forehead and entire crown 
black to base of feathers. Feathers on nape chestnut 
with proximal quarter black. Mantle: feathers proximally 
black, narrowly fringed chestnut. Upper back: feathers 
black proximally with narrow (to broader) chestnut 
fringes. Lower back and rump: chestnut, proximally grey. 
Uppertail-coverts: chestnut. Tail: Upper surface of tail 
feathers black. Feathers 1, 2 and 3 completely black. 
Feather 4 with central white spot extending up inner 
web 7.2 mm and outer web 5.5 mm. Feather 5 with 
broad white tip extending up inner web 16.9 mm and 
outer web 10.7 mm. Feather 6 with extensive white tip 
extending up inner web 35.2 mm and outer web 13.0 
mm. Wing: Lesser coverts black. Median coverts 
proximally black with broad white tips. Greater coverts 
black proximally with white tip increasing in size from 
feathers 9 to 1 (following secondary numbering). 
Primary coverts black. Alula 1 (smallest) black, alula 2 
narrowly edged white starting 3.6 mm from tip 
extending for 5.6 mm towards base, alula 3 outer web 
with 12.5 mm white. Primaries (numbered 
descendantly, i.e. starting at innermost): all feather- 
shafts black. Inner and outer webs proximally white, 
more extensive on PP 6 to 1. PP 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 outer 
web edged white above notch, not meeting shaft. PP 4 
to 1 outer web proximally white to shaft. PP 7 to 1 having 
inner web proximally white to shaft. Secondaries: Black 
feathers proximally white extending further on inner 
webs than outer webs, creating wing-bar. Wing-bar c. 16 
mm wide below underwing-coverts. Tertials: S9 
completely black, S8 black with small white panel on 
outer web starting 30.9 mm from tip and extending to 
base, and S7 black with white panel on inner and outer 



6 


J. C. ROBINSON-DEAN et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


web as part of wing-bar. Wing formula: P10 19.35 mm 
>alula 3. Wing point P6; P9 falls between P4 and P5. 
P7 = WP-2 mm P8 = WP-2.5 mm, P5 =WP-4.5 mm, 
P9 = WP-9.8 mm, P4 = WP-10.4 mm, P3 = WP-12 
mm, P2 = WP-16.3 mm, PI = WP-18.7 mm. 
Emarginations on outer web measured from tip: P8 
(39.4 mm), P7 (35.4 mm), P6 (29.9 mm), P5 (very 
slight at 20.5 mm). Notches on inner web measured 
from tip: P9 (33.5 mm) P8 (34.6 mm) P7 (31.2 mm). 

Plumage'. Underparts Face predominantly black. Eye¬ 
ring broken, having white feathers with black shafts 
behind eye, and just in front extending to lores. Base of 
sub-moustachial stripe white. Patch of grey bare skin 
immediately behind white eye-ring extending 6.6 mm. 
Ear-coverts white behind cheek and below eye. Chin 
and throat black with a single white feather on throat. 
Upper part of breast with white breast-band. Breast to 
belly with white feathers narrowly tipped with black. 
Lower belly and vent white. Undertail-coverts white. 
Flanks grey, becoming chestnut towards rump. 
Underside of tail slate-grey. Wing: Lesser underwing- 
coverts white with black edges. Median underwing- 
coverts white narrowly tipped black. Greater underwing- 
coverts black, broadly tipped white. Greater primary 
underwing-coverts slate-grey. Lesser primary 
underwing-coverts white. Axillaries white, tipped black. 
Underside of PP and SS slate-grey. 

Ba re parts Orbital ring grey. Bill pale grey, darker at 
nares and a slight overgrowth on upper mandible (1.7 
mm beyond lower mandible). Legs flesh-pink. Iris dark 
brown. Gape grey. Tongue pink. 

Other specimens examined (not designated as 
types; numbering is chronological) 

1 juvenile (bird #1): Indonesia, Sulawesi subregion, Pulau 
Kabaena (Kabaena Island), Rahadopi (05°16’43”S 
121°52’55”E), 380 m, 15 September 1999. Captured 
by DJK, BP and NMM, and released. I adult (bird #2- 
male?): Indonesia, Sulawesi subregion, Pulau Kabaena 
(Kabaena Island), Tangkeno (05°16’29”S 
121°55’23”E), 600 m, 5 September 2000, 17h45. Blood 
samples at MZB and NMS. 2 adults (bird #3,4- male?): 
same data as holotype (HT) except 450 m, 8 September 
2000, 17h45. Blood samples at MZB and NMS. 2 adults 
(bird #7,8 - male?): same data as HT except 431 m, 4 
September 2001,1 lhOO. Blood samples at NMS. 1 adult 
(bird #9 - female?): same data as HT except 380 m, 6 
September 2001,08h30. Blood samples at NMS. 1 adult 
(bird #10 - female?): same data as HT except 386 m, 6 
September 2001, 16h45. Blood samples at NMS. All 
specimens captured by JR-D, DJK and Martin Meads, 
and released. 

Etymology 

The name kabaena is that of the type locality, the island 
of Kabaena, which is also the presumed range of this 
subspecies. It is treated as a noun in apposition. The 
local name of the bird is ‘ara-ara bai’. 


DISCUSSION 

Diagnosis and variation 

This taxon differs from the nominate subspecies (Fig. 
4) in consistently having predominantly black feathers 


on the head and upper back, instead of chestnut-brown. 
There is evidence for slight sexual dimorphism in the 
amount of black on the nape and back - the paratype 
female and two similar, presumed female specimens, 
birds #9 and 10 (permit restrictions did not allow 
additional specimens to be killed, which would have 
verified the sex), have slightly less black on the nape 
and lower back than the holotype male and the other 
six adult specimens captured (Fig. 3a). The paratype 
and other presumed female specimens have black only 
in an ill-defined area in the centre of the upper back 
and mantle, with more extensive chestnut on the nape 
(Fig. 3b-d). In this respect, the paratype is somewhat 
similar to the juvenile specimen (bird #1) captured in 
1999 (Fig. 3e,f) near the village of Rahadopi. The latter 
specimen also has less black on the crown. 

A single specimen of Z. erythronota labelled ‘N 
Celebes. Female. Rurukan. 34.665 1931’, in ZMB, also 
has some black feathers on the upper back. However, 
the capture locality lies in northern Sulawesi, within 
the range of typical Z. erythronota erythronota (White 
and Bruce 1986, Coates and Bishop 1997), of which 
we believe it is an aberrant specimen. 

Some specimens examined of Z. erythronota 
erythronota also differ from the syntypes of this name 
(from Makassar, in south-western Sulawesi) in having 
the crown entirely black (Fig. 4), like Z. e. kabaena. 
However, this variation appears to be individual, rather 
than sexual or geographic - a series in ZMB of one male 
and four females from Rurukan (north Sulawesi) shows 
individual variation in the amount of black on the crown. 
No museum specimens of Z. erythronota have been 
examined from mainland south-eastern Sulawesi or 
Buton island (see Appendix 1), but field observations 
and captured individuals from these areas suggest ( contra 
Clement etal. 2000) no substantial plumage differences 
from the syntypes of the nominate subspecies. (For 
simplicity in this paper, we provisionally refer to Z. 
erythronota from these areas as the nominate subspecies.) 
Apart from the single specimen referred to above from 
Rurukan, the nominate subspecies therefore remains 
consistently different from Z. e. kabaena in the coloration 
of the upper back in all other specimens examined (n = 
31; 30 museum, 1 field), in north, south-western and 
south-eastern Sulawesi and Buton island. 

The wing length of Z. e. kabaena is significantly 
greater than that of Z. e. erythronota (Mann-Whitney U 
test (2-tailed): 0 = -2.78, n = 9 kabaena , n = 4 
erythronota, P = 0.005 (captured specimens only), or 2 
= -3.13, n = 9 kabaena, n = 15 erythronota , P = 0.002 
(including museum specimens) (Appendix 1). 

Zoothera dohertyi differs from Z. e. kabaena (and other 
Z. erythronota taxa) in retaining buff flanks in adult 
plumage, and never shows a distinct breast-band. Buff 
flanks and an indistinct breast-band were seen on 
presumably young birds of Z. e. erythronota in collections 
and on mainland Sulawesi (JR-D), and buff flanks were 
seen on a presumably young individual of Z. e. kabaena 
(JR-D), but this feature was not apparent on the juvenile 
captured by DJK, BP and NMM. Zoothera dohertyi has 
a distinctive song, which is probably responsible for its 
popularity as a cage bird (observations in Makassar and 
Kendari bird markets; also Clement et al. 2000), while 
virtually no song has been described or recorded for Z. 
erythronota (Neumann 1939, Coates and Bishop 1997; 
but see Clement et al. 2000, and Vocalisations, below). 




Forktail 18 (2002) 


A new subspecies of Red-backed Thrush from Kabaena island, Indonesia 


7 


Zoothera e. mendeni (Banggai) has the white face pattern 
and cinnamon head colouring characteristic of some 
specimens of Z. e. erythronota , but shows no other white 
except as an underwing bar. 

Taxonomic status and relationships 

The species-level taxonomy of Zoothera , like that of most 
bird taxa fragmented into island populations, has 
inspired debate in the past (e.g. Ripley 1952, Ripley 
and Hadden 1982). Several currently recognised species, 
such as Z. dohertyi, were, until comparatively recently, 
regarded as subspecies of other allopatric taxa (Eck 
1976,White and Bruce 1986, Coates and Bishop 1997). 
Coates and Bishop (1997) suggest that populations of 
Z. erythronota from Banggai (Z. e. mendeni ) and the Sula 
islands (undescribed) (Clement et al ., 2000), off eastern 
Sulawesi, should perhaps be treated as a distinct species. 
Zoothera erythronota mendeni was originally described 
as a full species by Neumann (1939), but accorded 
subspecific rank by Stresemann (1940), a decision 
upheld by Eck (1976), who also noted that the island of 
Peleng otherwise supported no endemic bird species. 
The black on the underside, which partially distinguishes 
Z. e. mendeni from the nominate subspecies, is also an 
intra-specifically variable character in the closely related 
Z. dohertyi (Colenutt 2002: 28 illustrates an especially 
dark specimen of the latter taxon). 

Zoothera e. kabaena is externally most similar to Z. e. 
erythronota , which it replaces on Kabaena island - both 
of these taxa have a white breast-band and reduced 
chestnut on the flanks, which are distinctive characters 
(though not necessarily derived) of the nominate 
subspecies. The black plumage coloration on the 
upperside that distinguishes Z. e. kabaena from the 
nominate subspecies is slightly variable within the taxon, 
and one phenotypically similar specimen from well 
within the range of the nominate subspecies was found 
in ZMB (see Diagnosis above). Our examination of 
museum specimens shows that the plumage coloration 
of the head of the nominate subspecies is also 
individually or geographically variable (Fig. 4). We 
therefore regard the phenotypic differences between Z. 
e. kabaena and Z. e. erythronota as being worthy only of 
subspecific recognition. In addition, while differences 
were noted in the habitats and call of Z. e. kabaena and 
Z. e. erythronota (discussed below), we do not feel that 
these are sufficiently significant or rigorously evaluated 
for the taxon to be treated as a distinct species. To date, 
no molecular analyses have been performed on the 
feather or blood samples taken, but these might also 
provide data to establish the most suitable rank for this 
taxon. 

Vocalisations 

Two types of call were heard from Z. e. kabaena , both of 
which were also heard from Zoothera e. erythronota on 
Buton and mainland south-eastern Sulawesi (JR-D). As 
with Z. e. erythronota , the bird calls infrequently and is 
generally discreet. When alarmed, both taxa give a harsh, 
repetitive ‘chacking’ call, consisting of five short ‘chacks’ 
of varying frequency. When undisturbed, Kabaena 
individuals were heard to produce a second type of call, 
adding two notes to the thin upslur call typical of the 
nominate subspecies. These notes were before the 
upslur, the first note being high, the second low, and 
the upslur starting in the middle of that range. The entire 


call lasts no more than two seconds; it is usually delivered 
only once and may be heard throughout the day. 
Recording calls was difficult due to their 
unpredictability, but recordings of the distress call of a 
bird in the hand (which was typical of the Turdinae, 
e.g. Song Thrush Turdus philomelos), and an alarm call 
of a wild individual, have been made and will be 
deposited at NMS. 

In comparison to other Indonesian Zoothera , Z. 
erythronota apparently sings very infrequently (Coates 
and Bishop 1997); the only record of a song of which 
we know is Clement et al. (2000: 224), who report it, in 
the nominate subspecies, to be a ‘liquid and typically 
thrush-like series of notes’. No song is definitely known 
for Z. e. kabaena , which perhaps sings very briefly; a 
possible song for this subspecies was recorded in 2001, 
but remains to be analysed. Similarly, there is also no 
published indication of a song for Z. e. mendeni 
(Neumann 1939, Coates and Bishop 1997), though this 
is hardly surprising given the rarity of that taxon. 

Ecology and behaviour 

The first sighting of this taxon by NMM, and the first 
adult captured by JR-D in 2000, were in a small, linear 
strip of secondary forest in which the understorey had 
been partially cleared for cultivation, at an elevation of 
600 m. The bird that was captured was first flushed 
from the ground in the late afternoon and flew into a 
nearby area of secondary growth across a small stream, 
at 2 m above the ground, before landing once more. A 
mist-net was placed in the stream gully, within the 
apparent territory of the bird, and within 10 minutes of 
the net being in place, at 16h00, the bird had flown into 
the third shelf of the net at a height of 1.5 m. 

A number of other individuals were observed around 
the villages of Rahadopi and Sampalakambula, and in 
the river valley of Lakampula below Rahadopi (Fig. 2), 
by MJC, DJK, NMM, BP and volunteers in 1999. The 
habitat in this area consisted of secondary growth in 
ravines, old cashew-nut plantations, bamboo stands and 
extensive areas of scrub. In 1999, the juvenile bird was 
caught on the edge of Rahadopi football field in an area 
of overgrown cashew-nut plantations, rank grass and 
scattered patches of heavily degraded secondary forest 
and thickets. A single bird was also seen in secondary 
growth near the village of Enano in 2001 (DJK).These 
sightings suggest that this taxon is able to tolerate fairly 
substantial habitat alteration. 

Two individuals were captured by JR-D in a larger 
area of relatively undisturbed secondary forest, 
approximately 4 km south ofTangkeno village, at an 
elevation of 380-450 m. The forest was composed 
predominantly of hardwood species, with some 
reasonably large buttressed trees still surviving, although 
pine trees were also abundant. Tree falls were common 
and the forest supported few large trees, due to the dry 
climate and thin ultrabasic soils. There was a mid-storey 
at around 5 m and a closed canopy at about 12 m, 
admitting very little light. Consequently, the forest floor 
was mostly clear, with only dry leaf and branch litter, 
much of it contributed by pine trees, except for 
occasional bamboo stands. As with the birds near 
Tangkeno, both of these individuals were also found in 
close proximity to shallow stream gullies. One individual 
flew into the net in the late afternoon at dusk, again 
into the third shelf, while the second individual was 



8 


J. C. ROBINSON-DEAN et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


caught at first light the next day in the second shelf at 1 
m. Three other individuals were also heard in the same 
area. These birds, like almost all other individuals 
observed, were more visible than the nominate 
subspecies, flying higher (over 2 m) and being noticeably 
less shy. 

The 2001 research trip was made to the latter site, 
which appeared to have changed little since the previous 
visit, and a total of six further individuals were captured. 
Two individuals were seen around 2 m above the ground 
following a noisy party of Sulawesi Babblers Trichastoma 
celebense in the subcanopy, and one individual was 
observed on two occasions foraging in the leaf litter near 
rotting fallen trees. On both occasions, on becoming 
aware of the observer’s presence, the bird hopped onto 
a nearby log and cocked its tail into an upright position 
reminiscent of Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula , before 
flying away just above ground level uttering a chacking 
alarm call. Insects were collected around the foraging 
area for comparison with gut contents analysis. 

Gut contents of the two type specimens were 
analysed by AW (Appendix 2). Adult Z. e. kabaena eat 
Arthropoda, including insects from the orders 
Hymenoptera, Hemiptera (Heteroptera), Coleoptera 
and Lepidoptera (in order of quantity of fragments in 
the sample). Within the Hymenoptera, the sample was 
almost entirely from the Formicidae (ants) although 
there were wing fragments that could not be conclusively 
assigned to this family. The two samples (representing 
the holotype and paratype) contained vastly different 
numbers of fragments. Sample 1 (holotype) had 573 
fragments, of which 54% were not identifiable to any 
particular body part of any particular taxon. Sample 2 
(paratype) had 54 fragments, of which 46% fell into the 
same category. In Sample 1, the fraction that represented 
Formicidae was 32%, rising to 37% if the hymenopteran 
wing fragments of uncertain identity were included. The 
Formicidae fraction of Sample 2 was 35%. The ant 
petioles found in the large ant fragments of the two 
samples were not from the same species, thus direct 
comparisons between the samples cannot be made. 

There is strong evidence that at least two individuals 
of a large species of ant were eaten by the holotype male 
(Sample 1).There were two whole heads and four (two 
per head) terminal antennal segments. There is similar 
evidence to suggest the same bird ate up to six smaller 
individuals of a smaller ant species, a bug (Heteroptera), 
and possibly a beetle (Coleoptera), a moth 
(Lepidoptera), and some other small to medium-sized 
arthropods. 

Distribution, habitat and conservation 

Zoothera erythronota kabaena is known only from 
Kabaena island, to which it appears to be endemic. 
Kabaena island is roughly oval in shape, 48 km long 
and 31 km wide, lying 18 km south of mainland Sulawesi 
and 25 km west of Muna island (Fig. 2).The topography 
is rugged, with a central mountain range consisting of 
both limestone and igneous peaks rising to 1,570 m. 
The significantly greater geographic isolation of 
Kabaena in comparison with nearby Buton island, which 
seems to contain the nominate subspecies (but see 
Clement et al. 2000: 224) and lies only 6 km south of 
the mainland, may be an important factor in the 
differentiation of Z. e. kabaena from Z. e. erythronota. It 
is worth noting that while the avifaunas of Buton and 


Kabaena are largely comparable, there are some 
significant differences, with several characteristic forest 
species that are present on Buton being currently 
unknown from Kabaena, including Bay Coucal 
Centropus celebensis, White-necked Myna Streptocitta 
albicollis , and Knobbed Hornbill Rhyticeros cassidix. 
However, the sea depth between Kabaena, Muna and 
Buton islands, and the adjacent mainland, is nowhere 
deeper than 180 m (100 fathoms, Fig. 2), and all would 
almost certainly have been connected during previous 
glacial periods (White and Bruce 1986, Coates and 
Bishop 1997). 

The taxon has been recorded only in the vicinity of 
Tangkeno, Rahadopi (c.5 km west ofTangkeno; see data 
under specimens examined), Lakampula river below 
Rahadopi, the village of Sampalakambula (c. 1.5 km east 
of Rahadopi), and the village of Enano (125m; 
05°15’3”S 121°57’39”E), between 125 m and 650 m 
(Fig. 2). The more natural remaining habitat in this 
region is grassland-forest mosaic on igneous rock, similar 
to habitats in the south of Rawa-Aopa National Park 
on the adjacent mainland. When present, the forest has 
a low (10-20 m) closed canopy in some parts, but 
becomes more open, with grasses appearing, towards 
the edge. It is unclear whether this habitat is natural or 
anthropogenic, resulting from long-term selective tree 
removal (or cutting) and fire.Taller, moister forest, more 
similar to that on central Buton island, was only found 
in pockets in the river valley south and west of Gunung 
Sambapolulu, surrounded to the south, north and west 
by high peaks. This area of forest, ranging from 100- 
1,000 m in elevation, represents perhaps the largest 
relatively intact block left on Kabaena, with most of the 
lower-lying regions of the island being totally denuded 
of natural vegetation and covered with dry grassland 
and scrub, except on very steep slopes. 

In contrast to Zoothera erythronota on Buton island 
(Catterall 1997, Baltzer 1998; JR-D unpublished data), 
Z. e. kabaena seems to tolerate a wide range of thickly 
vegetated and forested habitats, including overgrown, 
shady plantations and bamboo stands, and it appears 
to be relatively common in theTanglceno-Rahadopi area. 
Nevertheless, in ten days of fieldwork away from this 
area, in the vicinity of the villages of Lengora and 
Dongkala (see Fig. 2), JR-D failed to record Z. e. 
kabaena , and its range, as currently known, is highly 
restricted. In addition, the extensive dry season, 
probably exacerbated by widespread deforestation, 
means that fire poses a serious hazard to remaining forest 
patches. 

The authors would like to thank all the Operation Wallacea volun¬ 
teers who assisted with fieldwork, in particular David Heath, Isabel 
Behncke, Dick and Hanneke Coates and Martin Meads. Operation 
Wallacea provided the necessary logistical support throughout our 
time in Sulawesi, and we are grateful to all those who helped in what¬ 
ever way to get us into the forest. Permits for the study, collection 
and export of specimens were provided through WDI and LIPI. A 
number of field trips by JR-D, MJC, DJK, BP and NMM, were funded 
in whole or part by volunteers, through Operation Wallacea. JR-D 
thanks in particular those who generously helped to fund her flight 
to Indonesia in 2001, to collect the type specimens: The Orkney Is¬ 
lands Council, Ola Gorie, Orkney Herring Co. Ltd., Charles Tait 
Photographic, The A. S. Butler Charitable Trust and an anonymous 
donor. Radio Orkney and The Orcadian helped to publicise the trip 
and thus obtain funding. JR-D is grateful to the all the curators who 
gave her access to the Zoothera collections in their care, often at short 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


A new subspecies of Red-backed Thrush from Kabaena island, Indonesia 


9 


notice: Paul Sweet (AMNH), Mark Adams and Robert Prys-Jones 
(NHM), Chris Milensky (USNM), Matthias Nuss (SMTD), and 
Sylke Frahnert (ZMB). A special debt is owed to Bob McGowan, 
Peter and Phil at the NMS, who provided hours of time in explain¬ 
ing the finer points of field taxidermy, advice on the required mate¬ 
rials and methods, and constant encouragement. Charles and Magnus 
Tait willingly gave hours of their time in scanning slides and helping 
with numerous other computer matters. Matthias Nuss laboriously 
translated chunks of Eck (1976), with imaginative use of‘straight- 
gherkin’ analogies to explain obscure biogeographic concepts. Eric 
Meek helpfully provided copies of a number of relevant papers. Euan 
Maclllraith made sound recordings on Kabaena in an attempt to 
record calls. We are extremely grateful to John Gale for generously 
providing the meticulous artwork that illustrates the taxon (Fig. 4 
and front cover). We thank Edward Dickinson and Stuart Butchart 
for helpful comments on the manuscript, and Nigel Collar for com¬ 
ments on an earlier version. 


REFERENCES 

Baltzer, M. C. (1998) Ornithological surveys and conservation priori¬ 
ties in Buton Island, South-East Sulawesi, Indonesia. Spilsby, 
Lincolnshire, U.K.: Operation Wallacea. 

Catterall, M. J. (1997) Results of the 1996 bird survey of Buton Island, 
Sulawesi, Indonesia. Spilsby, Lincolnshire, U.K.: Ecosurveys. 


Clement, P, Hathway, R., Wilczur, J. and Byers, C. (2000) Thrushes. 
London: Christopher Helm. 

Coates, B. J. and Bishop, K. D. (1997) A guide to the birds of Wallacea. 
Alderley, Australia: Dove. 

Colenutt, S. (2002) Wallace’s Islands. Birdwatch 117: 24-28. 

Eck, S. (1976) Die Vogel der Banggai-Inseln, insbesondere Pelengs. 

Zool.Abh. St. Mus. Tierk., Dresden 34(1): 53-100. 

ICBP (1992) Putting biodiversity on the map: priority areas for global 
conservation. Cambridge, U.K.: International Council for Bird 
Preservation. 

McNeely, J. A., Miller, K. R., Reid, W. V., Mittermeier, R. A. and 
Werner, T. B. (1990) Conserving the world's biological diversity. 
Gland: International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 
Neumann, O. (1939) A new species and a new race from Peling [sic]. 

Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 59: 47-48. 

Ripley, S. D. (1952) The thrushes. Postilla 13: 1-48. 

Ripley, S. D. and Hadden, D. (1982) A new subspecies of Zoothera 
(Aves: Muscicapidae: Turdinae) from the northern Solomon is¬ 
lands. J. Yamashina Inst. Ornithol. 14(2-3): 103-107. 
Stresemann, E. (1940) Die Vogel von Celebes, Teil III. Systematik 
und Biologie. J. f. Ornithol. 88: 1-135. 

Wallace, A. R. (1860) On the zoological geography of the Malay Ar¬ 
chipelago. J. Linn. Soc. ( Zool.) London 2: 1104-1108. 

Wallace, A. R. (1869) The Malay Archipelago. London: Macmillan. 
White, C. M. N and Bruce, M. D. (1986) The birds of Wallacea 
(Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia): an 
annotated check-list. London: British Ornithologists’ Union 
(Check-list no. 7). 


J. C. Robinson-Dean, Turriedale, Finstown, Orkney, KW17 2JX, U.K. Email: jrd@zetnet.co.uk 

K. R. Willmott, Department of Entomology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, U.K. 
Email: keiw@nhm.ac.uk 

M.J. Catterall, 94,Alkincoats Road, Colne, Lancashire, BB8 9QQ, U.K. Email: m.catter@virgin.net 

D. J. Kelly, B. Phalan and N. M. Mar pies, Department of Zoology, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland 

A. Whittington, Geology and Zoology Department, National Museums of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, U.K. 

D. R. S. Boeadi, Museum Zoologi Bogor, LIPI, Cibinong, Bogor, Indonesia 


APPENDIX 1 

Morphometric data (in mm and g) for Zoothera erythronota specimens 


Taxon 

Collection 

Sex 

Type 

status 

Specimen 

# 

Maxilla 

Bill 

width 

Tarsus 

Wing 

Tail 

Weight 

Wing 

point 

Comments 

PP9— 

kabaena 

Released 



2 

20.3 

7.2 

33.6 

120.5 

85 

63 

7 


4/5 

kabaena 

Released 



3 

18.0 

7.2 

31.55 

116.0 

83 

44 

7 


4/5 

kabaena 

Released 



4 

18.1 

7.0 

31.9 

118.0 

87 

53 

7 


4/5 

kabaena 

MZB 

female 

PT 

30.364 

20.2 

7.6 

32.82 

115.0 

83 

52.9 

6 


4/5 

kabaena 

MZB 

male 

HT 

30.363 

20.5 

6.8 

32.1 

115.0 

83 

59 

7 


4/5 

kabaena 

Released 



7 

19.0 

8.3 

31.6 

116.0 

83 

55 

7 


4/5 

kabaena 

Released 



8 

21.7 

6.6 

32.85 

120.0 

86 

61.5 

6 


4/5 

kabaena 

Released 



9 

20.0 

6.9 

32.5 

116.0 

84 

47 

6 


4/5 

kabaena 

Released 



10 

21.5 

6.1 

33.8 

117.0 

84 

57 

6 


4/5 

mendeni 

SMTD 

male 

HT 

C44567 

19.6 (*) 

6.4 

29.5 

116.0 

73 





erythronota 

Released 



Buton: TW 

21.1 



111.0 

75 

50 




erythronota 

Released 



Buton: LBB 

18.7 


32 

113.0 

76 

52 

7 



erythronota 

Released 



Buton: LBB 

18.8 


33.5 

114.0 

73 

51.5 

7 



erythronota 

Released 



Buton: LG 

18.1 

6.7 

31.8 

113.0 

83 

59 


moult P7 

4/5 

erythronota 

SMTD 

male 


C13869 

17.8 

6.0 

32.05 

114.0 

76 





erythronota 

ZMB 

female 


34.666 

17.4 

7.3 

30 

109.0 

71 





erythronota 

ZMB 

female 


34.665 

17.2 

6.8 (*) 

33.3 

113.0 

80 





erythronota 

ZMB 

female 


34.667 

19.5 

6.4 

34 

110.0 

66 





erythronota 

ZMB 

male 


34.664 

19.5 

7.4 

25.8 

120.0 

81 





erythronota 

NHM 


ST 

58.12.2.96 

18.7 

7.0 

32 

115.0 

78 





erythronota 

NHM 


ST 

58.12.2.95 

19.6 

7.4 

33.2 

114.0 

72 
































10 


J. C. ROBINSON-DEAN et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Taxon 

Collection 

Sex 

Type 

Specimen 

Maxilla 

Bill 

Tarsus 

Wing 

Tail Weight 

Wing Comments PP9= 




status 

# 


width 




point 

erythronota 

NHM 



81.5.1.743 

18.0 

7.2 

31.2 

108.0 

72 


erythronota 

NHM 



88.2.20.415 

18.3 

6.9 

32.5 

112.0 

72 


erythronota 

NHM 

male 


1965-M. 12479 

19.7 

7.2 

30.6 

116.0 

67 


erythronota 

NHM 



88.2.20.414 

★ 

6.2 

27.1 

110.0 

73 



NOTE: PT = paratype; HT = holotype; ST = syntype; * = broken; TW = Taman Wisata; LBB = Labundobundo; LG = Lagunturu. 

APPENDIX 2 

Gut contents analysis 


Taxon 

Fragment 

Sample 1 (HT) 

Sample 2 (PT) 

Hymenoptera: Formicidae: sp. 1 

head (± whole) 

2 



left mandible 

3 



right mandible 

2 



pedicel 

7 

1 


scape 

3 

3 


antennal segments 

19 



terminal antennal segment 

4 



coxa 

6 



femur (type 1) 

11 

1 


femur (type 2) 


1 


tibia (type 1) 

10 

1 


tibia (type 2) 


1 


basal tarsomere 

3 



terminal tarsomere 

3 



tarsomere 

11 

1 


thorax (± whole) 

3 



thoracic fragment 

7 

3 


petiole 

1 

1 


abdominal tergite 

34 

8 

Hymenoptera: Formicidae: sp. 2 

left mandible 

9 



right mandible 

12 



antennal segments 

3 



coxa 

9 



femur 

2 



tibia (type 1) 

6 



tibia (type 2) 

12 



tarsomere 

1 



thoracic fragment 

2 



abdominal tergite 

2 


Hymenoptera (Formicidae ?) 

wing fragments 

29 


Lepidoptera 

sclerite 

1 


Coleoptera ? 

head (± whole) 

1 



leg (coxa, femur and tibia) 

1 


Hemiptera (Heteroptera) 

head (± whole) 

1 



wing fragments 

12 



tibia 

2 


Other Arthropoda 

mandibles: claw-like 

4 



mandibles: long, thin, with spur 

5 



mandibles: long, thin, with broad base and cleft apex 

1 



leg fragments 

3 

6 


tergites 

15 

2 


Miscellaneous fragments of unidentifiable taxa 

311 

25 

TOTAL 


573 

54 























































FORKTAIL 18 (2002): 11-44 


Bird records from Laos, principally the 
Upper Lao/Thai Mekong and Xiangkhouang 

Province, in 1998-2000 

J. W. DUCKWORTH, P. DAVIDSON,T. D. EVANS, P. D. ROUND and R. J. TIMMINS 


Since 1992 many bird surveys have investigated the communities of the Lao national protected 
area system. These areas are mainly forest. Little attention has been focused on the birds of wide 
rivers (notably the Mekong), grasslands and other open habitats. Historical information on birds 
is available for very few of the protected areas, limiting the understanding of status trends. During 
1998-2000, observations were made in two areas with among the best historical coverage in 
Laos: Xiangkhouang province and the Upper Lao Mekong. Visits to several other unprotected 
sites are also documented. A relatively rich community remains on the Mekong. Although severe 
declines have occurred among large waterbirds, terns, vultures and fish eagles, good breeding 
populations remain of River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii , Small Pratincole Glareola lactea, Plain 
Martin Riparia paludicola , Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii and Jerdon’s Bushchat Saxicola 
jerdoni. RiverTern Sterna aurantia , Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo (the first Lao records for 
60 years), Great Thick-knee Esacus recurvirostris , Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis, Blue-tailed Bee- 
eater Merops philippinus and Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos persist in small numbers. 
Stretches of river with varied channel characters in the low-flow season (i.e. sand, gravel, rocks, 
bushland and braided streams) support a much richer community than stretches with only large 
open sandbars, or open water alone. In Xiangkhouang, many grassland birds seem to have declined, 
as indeed do almost all large and medium-sized birds of open habitats, here and along the Mekong, 
notably starlings Sturnus and mynas Acridotheres, Large-billed Crow and consequently Asian Koel 
Eudynamys scolopacea, Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus. Common Hoopoe Upupa epops, Short¬ 
eared Owl Asio flammeus, quails Coturnix and buttonquails Turnix , Chinese Francolin Francolinus 
pintadeanus, all three species of Streptopelia doves, and perhaps some granivores. The national 
status of Small Buttonquail Turnix sylvatica , Black-billed Magpie Pica pica , Asian Pied Starling 
Sturnus contra , Chestnut Munia Lonchura malacca and the wintering population of Red Collared 
Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica probably merit considerable concern. Population declines are almost 
certainly due to over-harvesting, because suitable habitat remains abundant for all these species. 
Pinewoods investigated in Xiangkhouang lacked most of the special species historically present, 
perhaps reflecting their degraded condition, although Black-headed Greenfinch Carduelis ambigua 
was found after a 55-year gap. Other individual records of significance include: the first Lao 
records of Ashy Wood Pigeon Columba pulchricollis , Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes , Grey 
Plover Pluvialis squatarola , the herring gull Larus argentatus group, Purple Cochoa Cochoa purpurea 
and Spotted Bush Warbler Bradypterus tlioracicus ; the first recent record of Grey-winged Blackbird 
Turdus boulboul; records of four wader species new to North Laos and one new to Central Laos; 
and documentation of the colonising Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata population. Some priorities 
for further surveys of vulnerable bird communities are identified. 


INTRODUCTION 

Since 1992, many bird surveys have taken place in and 
around proposed National Biodiversity Conservation 
Areas (NBCAs) of Laos (Thewlis et al. 1996, Evans and 
Timmins 1998, Duckworth et al. 1998a, Evans et al. 
2000a, Davidson in prep.). These surveys followed a 
gap of approximately 40 years when almost no new 
information was placed into the public domain; the 
valuable observations ofW.W. Thomas in 1962-1964 
and 1981-1983 remain unpublished. The limited 
historical activity concentrated on accessible areas, most 
of which have since become heavily settled. The NBCAs 
are mainly remote forest areas, and thus few have any 
significant historical information on birds, while the 
areas that were documented in the past have mostly 


not been revisited. The lack of ability to compare bird 
communities at the same site in different eras hampers 
assessment of the conservation status of birds in Laos. 

The NBCA system places high priority on extensive 
little-encroached habitat (Berkmuller et al. 1995a,b). 
While this is clearly the most effective way to conserve 
ecosystems and target species, habitat types that do not 
occur in large tracts tend to be under-represented, or 
omitted, from the protected area system. The most 
obvious are very large lowland rivers (notably the 
Mekong), and non-flowing wetlands away from 
deciduous dipterocarp forest. With a focus of survey 
effort on NBCAs, these habitats are also under¬ 
surveyed. 

These two considerations led to a series of short 
recreational birding trips within Laos in 1999 and early 



12 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


2000. The two main areas visited were Xiangkhouang 
Province, where A. David-Beaulieu lived during 1937- 
1942 and 1946-1947, and documented the birds in a 
series of publications, and the Upper Lao Mekong, 
which was collected in a winter expedition by Delacour 
and Greenway (1940a,b). In addition a visit was made 
to Muang Xaisomboun Special Zone, formerly within 
Xiangkhouang Province, in an unsuccessful attempt to 
enter the higher montane zone of Phou Bia, the highest 
mountain in Laos. The Mekong in Vientiane 
Municipality was covered intermittently during the 
period, with one visit to Pakxan. Also presented are 
records from the Thai bank of the Mekong along the 
Lao-Thai border, extending through Central Laos and 
just into the South. All records from these trips are 
presented here in full, even if they appeared in 
Duckworth et al. (1999), a mainly secondary source that 
did, however, detail some previously unpublished 
records from prior to March 1999. A parallel synthesis 
(Davidson in prep.) documents observations from 


formal bird surveys during 1997-1999, and incidental 
observations from areas not covered here. Field 
observations of mammals at the sites treated here were 
restricted to treeshrews and squirrels and, in the absence 
of specimens, do not merit publication. Sequence, 
species limits and nomenclature follow Inskipp et al. 
(1996). Lao risk assessments and division of Laos into 
North, Centre and South follow Duckworth et al. 
(1999). Scientific names are given in the text only for 
species not in Appendix 1. Place names are based on 
the 1986 series of 1:100,000 maps produced by the RDP 
Lao Service Geographique d’Etat following the minor 
nomenclature modifications of Thewlis et al. (1998), 
except that Nakai Plateau and derivatives is spelt thus, 
rather than Nakay, in deference to widespread usage. 
Sites not included in the gazetteer ofThewlis et al. (1998) 
are detailed in Appendix 2. Reserve names follow 
Thewlis et al. (1998). All altitudes are approximate, and 
derived from the RDPL maps. 


100 ° 


10T 


102 ° 


103° 


104° 


105° 



22°N 


20°N 


18°N 


Figure 1. Northern Laos, showing areas and selected localities mentioned in the text (see also Figs 3-5; note that the inset 
here for Fig. 2 includes only a small northerly section of the area covered in Fig. 2). 1: Phongsali; 2: Ban Muangyo; 3: 
Louang-Namtha town; 4: Nam Et NBCA; 5: Phou Louey NBCA; 6: Xam-Nua town; 7: Ban Xiangkhok; 8: Muang 
Pakbeng; 9: BanThaxoang; 10: Ban Bo; 11: Ban Lay; 12: Pak Ou; 13: Louangphabang town; 14: Muang Xaisomboun; 15: 
Phou Bia; 16: Paklay; 17: Xaignabouli-Thai border; 18: Chiang Khan island; 19: Nam Ngum reservoir; 20: Phou 
Khaokhoay NBCA; 21: Pakxan; 22: Bung Kan Dist.; 23: Bung Khla Dist.; 24: Nam Kading river; 25: Nam Chouan 
proposed NBCA; 26: Ban Lak (20). 
















Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


13 



Figure 2. Southern Laos, showing localities mentioned in 
the text. 1: Nakai-NamTheun NBCA; 2: Nakai Plateau; 3: 
Ban Phaeng Dist.; 4:Tha Uthen Dist.; 5: Nakhon Phanom 
Dist.; 6: That Phanom Dist.; 7: BanWaan Noi; 8: 
Mukdahan Dist.; 9: Savannakhet town; 10: Ban Na Pho; 
11: Chanuman Dist.; 12: Hat Sung; 13: Xe Bang-Nouan 
NBCA; 14: Salavan town; 15: Champasak Province; 16: 
Khong Chiam Dist.; 17: Pakxe; 18: Xe Pian NBCA; 19: 
Dong Khanthung proposed NBCA; 20: Xe Kong river. 


AREAS VISITED AND METHODS 

All areas are shown in Figs. 1-5. Coordinates, altitudes 
and biogeographic information for sites not in the 
gazetteer ofThewlis et al. (1998) are given in Appendix 
2 . 

Xiangkhouang 

Detailed information on the birdlife of the 
Xiangkhouang area (formerly known as Tran Ninh) 
comes from the French colonial administrator Armand 
David-Beaulieu (1939, 1940, 1944, 1948), although he 
noted that his information was particularly patchy for 
raptors. Xiangkhouang is now one of the most degraded 
provinces in Laos; hence, excepting a small area in the 
south along the Vietnamese border, no areas within it 
were proposed as protected areas by Berkmiiller et al. 
(1993, 1995b), and no recent wildlife surveys have taken 
place. The bird communities described by David- 
Beaulieu include species and, particularly, numbers, of 
certain groups not recorded recently from anywhere in 
Laos: notably wintering raptors and ducks plus various 
grassland birds inhabiting the large (c.400 km") 
‘Tranninh Plateau’ at 1,100-1,200 m, and montane 
forest species. Our field observations were made during 
extended weekend visits in February, September, 



Figure 3. Xiangkhouang Province (part), showing localities 
mentioned in the text. 1: Ban Phonsavan; 2: Ban Phonsavan 
pinewoods; 3: Phou Gnouan; 4: Ban Latsen; 5: Jar site II; 6: 
Xiangkhouang town. 


October and November 1999, and April 2000. They 
were concentrated at Ban Latsen (probably the largest 
wetland remaining in the area) and in the montane 
evergreen forest of Phou Gnouan. Pinewoods within 
two hours’ walk of Ban Phonsavan were also visited. 
Ban Latsen is a large grassland with seasonal pools (most 
or all of which were artificially constructed), across 
which are scattered streams and rice fields. Continuing 
conversion to agriculture was apparent. Fishing activity 
and buffalo grazing are heavy. Although unexploded 
ordnance is still frequently found in the province, the 
large number of buffaloes at Latsen meant that it was 
possible to cross the grasslands away from paths to try 
to flush quails, buttonquails etc, with no risk of 
detonation. Ban Latsen was visited frequently by David- 
Beaulieu. Phou Gnouan rises to c. 1,825 m and has a 
relict patch of broad-leaved evergreen forest, probably 
of several square kilometres, from 1,700 m to the peak. 
Terrain is steep and there is little total land area at very 
high altitude. Between 1,200 and 1,700 m was a mosaic 
of active cultivation (liai), fallow hai , scrub and degraded 
secondary forest. Many large trees have been removed 
from the upper montane forest (which was evidently 
heavily used during the war years), and large conifers 
were still being actively harvested. The massif is 
continuous with a large area above 1,400 m, probably 
retaining other similar forest patches. Cattle are grazed 
to the highest levels. Phou Gnouan was not mentioned 
by David-Beaulieu, but he did visit broad-leaved forest 
at comparable altitudes nearby. Similarly, although there 
is no evidence that he visited the pinewoods around 
Ban Phonsavan, he worked those around the then 
provincial capital, Xiangkhouang town; and these 
pinewoods are probably still contiguous, albeit very 
degraded in places. The many small and degraded 
pinewoods around Ban Phonsavan contain few, if any, 
large pine trees. Broad-leaved evergreen trees occur 
mainly in gullies. Collection of wood and other products 













14 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 



Figure 4. The Mekong in Vientiane Municipality, showing localities mentioned in the text. 1: Ban Vang; 2: Pakchom 
sandbar; 3: Don Chan; 4: Paksang; 5: Ban Nasa; 6: Ban Phu KhaoThong; 7: Ban Thanasanghin; 8: Ban Mai Island; 9: Ban 
Houayhom; 10: Don Chuan; 11: Vientiane; 12:VatNak; 13: Ban Xayfong; 14: Lao-Thai bridge; 15: BanThadua; 16:Nong 
Ivhai; 17: Vat Xiangkhouan; 18: Ban Sivilai. 



Figure 5. A section of the Upper Lao Mekong, showing localities mentioned in the text. 1: Ban Tonpheung; 2: Chiang 
Saen; 3: Ban Donkhon; 4: Ban Namkeung-Kao; 5: Ban Donkhao; 6: Ban Muangmom; 7: Ban Namgnon-Kao; 8: Phou 
Phadeng; 9: Lo-Tiao (approximate location); 10: Ban Namgniou; 11: Ban Khonkeo; 12: Ban Houayxai; 13: Ban 
Viangkham; 14: Ban Paktha. 







Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


15 


is heavy, and the margins of the woods thinned 
noticeably over the 14 months of our visits. On our 
February 1999 visit, the main market in Ban Phonsavan, 
the provincial capital, was checked daily, sometimes 
several times. 

Muang Xaisomboun 

The growing town of Muang Xaisomboun administers 
an eponymous ‘special zone’, outside the province 
system. The sole bird-related reason to visit (13-16 
November 1999) was to ascend Phou Bia; permission 
to do so was not granted. Two previous visitors had 
biological bents. David-Beaulieu (1944) saw many birds 
unrecognisable to him, but severely under-budgeted the 
quantity of cartridges on his only ascent of the mountain, 
and so could not identify them. Kerr (1933) made no 
observations on forest birds. Hence, the avifauna of this 
mountain remains a mystery. It will doubtless yield many 
prizes to the first successful birding entry. Observations 
were made in the degraded agricultural habitats around 
the town, the karst, and the extensive hill grassland, up 
to 1,250 m. No significant wildlife market was found. 

Upper Lao Mekong (including adjacent dryland 
areas of Bokeo) 

The Haut Mekong is the name of a former Lao province 
of 11,000 km" spanning roughly the modern provinces 
of Louang-Namtha and Bokeo. The translated 
equivalent, ‘Upper Lao Mekong’ is used here for a larger 
area, the Mekong from its inflow to Laos downstream 
toVientiane. Several previous accounts have considered 
the birds of this area. Oustalet (1898) gave some 
information that, for distinctive species (e.g. Small 
Pratincole), remains very useful today. Bingham and 
Thompson (1901), in a lengthy documentation of the 
birds of upper Myanmar, include some records explicitly 
from the Mekong, and thus, on or close to the Lao 
border: there is only about 20 km of Mekong that forms 
the Myanmar-China border. Robinson and Kloss 
(1931) covered the Mekong from Paklay downstream 
to Central Laos in 1919; most species they collected 
seem yet to be written up. Bangs and van Tyne (1931) 
documented a June 1929 trip from Pak Ou down the 
Mekong, reaching Savannakhet in July. In winter 1938- 
1939, Delacour and Greenway (1940a,b) travelled 
upstream from Louangphabang to Ban Houayxai over 
five late December days, spent a few days each around 
Ban Houayxai, Ban Namkeung-Kao, and in mid- 
January reached their upstream limit of Chiang Saen. 
They then boated back downstream to Louangphabang. 
The focus of the winter 1999-2000 visit (27 December- 
8 January) was on covering as much of the Mekong 
upstream ofVientiane as possible. Limitations of time 
and budget prevented boating of the stretch from 
Louangphabang to Paklay, but otherwise the entire 
stretch from Ban Xiangkhok (almost the upstream 
extent of the Lao Mekong) to Vientiane was covered, 
some of it more than once. During 6-13 April 2000, 
the stretch between Ban Xiangkhok and 
Louangphabang was again boated. Additionally 
presented are records from between Louangphabang 
and Pak Ou on 29 January 1999, around Chiang Saen 
on 21-22 January 2000, and (made fromThailand) from 
Chiang Khan (almost at the Xaignabouli-Thai border) 
toVientiane during 20-23 April 2000. 


Lo-Tiao was a poor hamlet on the slopes of the 
mountain ‘Phu-Deng’ in Bokeo Province where 
Delacour and Greenway (1940a,b) collected for eight 
days; they found several species even now known by 
few or no other records in Laos. In 1999, high slopes in 
this general area were not accessible in a day trip from 
Ban Houayxai, although several days were spent in the 
valley and lower slopes of the tallest mountain in the 
area, Phou Phadeng (probably the same as ‘Phu-Deng’). 
In 1939 local cultivators had already devastated the hill 
forest, and only heavily degraded forest was accessible 
in 1999. In this area, the Mekong-side villages of Ban 
Namgnon-Kao and Ban Namgniou (a little downstream 
of Delacour’s Ban Namkeung-Kao) were visited in 
1999-2000. Land-based observations were also made 
in Ban Houayxai, Ban Khonkeo, Ban Viangkham, Ban 
Xiangkhok and Paklay. All other observations were from 
boat. The best craft from which to observe would be a 
small open boat hired specifically for the purpose, but 
this was beyond personal budgets. Therefore, 
observations were made from a mix of types. Upstream 
of Ban Houayxai, these were passenger-carrying 
speedboats with powerful multi-valve engines; it was 
possible, by paying the boatman extra, to go fairly slowly. 
From Ban Houayxai to Louangphabang, tourist barges 
were used, where passengers sat within a roofed area, 
and thus had limited viewing ability. From Paklay to 
Vientiane, a commercial grain barge was boarded, where 
the observer was free to sit in the bows and scan to all 
angles. In all boats the lack of ability to ask it to stop, or 
go back, reduced the ability to record birds, and thus in 
selected stretches (Ban Muangmom to Ban Khonkeo, 
and Louangphabang to upstream of Pak Ou) boats were 
hired specifically to allow this. Nonetheless, the counts 
for all stretches covered are indicative only and we may 
have overlooked substantial numbers of birds. 

For much of the length covered, the Mekong flows 
within Laos. However, it forms much of the border with 
Thailand, and a significant length forms the border with 
Myanmar (Table 1). Where the river forms the 
international border, most of the channel, including 
islands and mosaics exposed at low-flow season, is 
mapped as Lao territory. All birds in the channel were 
recorded with no distinction of country; available time 
was used for searching for more birds, and in any case a 
moment after sighting they might change country. 

Mekong in Vientiane Municipality 

The Mekong in Vientiane Municipality has been 
watched intermittently since autumn 1992 (Duckworth 
1996,Thewlis et al. 1996, Duckworth et al. 1998a), but 
coverage has still been so low that there is only weak 
understanding of seasonal variation in species 
abundances. Many scarcer species doubtless remain to 
be recorded.The records presented here (from October 
1998 to December 1999) add noticeably to 
understanding of this stretch, but many questions 
remain unanswered. Don Chuan, the main island by 
the town centre, was the site visited most often. Records 
from Ban Thadua are, except where stated, from the 
vicinity of Vat Xienkhoaun, where there is a large, 
partially vegetated sandbar. Several other sites, all with 
exposed sandy islands and some vegetation growth, were 
visited occasionally, including Paksang (described in 
Duckworth 1996). Because of the lack of information 
available on the seasonality of occurrence, records from 



16 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


each site are split by season, although the current body 
of data is too small to allow meaningful conclusions yet 
to be drawn. 

Middle Lao Mekong 

The Mekong downstream ofVientiane has barely been 
covered until Phou Xiang Thong NBCA is reached 
(Evans et al. 2000a); Evans (2001) is a notable exception. 
During 19-29 April 2000, PDR drove beside the whole 
length of the Mekong from where it emerges from Laos 
upstream of Chiang Khan, Loei Province, to where it 
disappears into Laos again at Khong Chiam, Ubon 
Ratchathani Province. Boat trips were confined to short 
1-2 km trips to sand islands off Pakchom, Loei Province, 
and off Mukdahan, opposite Savannakhet. Most of this 
stretch falls in Central Laos, but the southern extremity 
is in South Laos. Counts are not given systematically 
for this stretch because of the little use made of boats. 
Nonetheless, enough was seen to give an idea of the 
community. Also presented under this heading are a few 
records from Pakxan. 


OBSERVATIONS 

Observations from all sites are summarised in Appendix 
1. Thewlis et al. (1998) defined a list of key species for 
bird conservation in Laos, those of elevated national 
and/or global conservation concern. This list was 
updated by Duckworth et al. (1999). Observational 
effort was, and discussion below is, focused on these 
species. 

Ban Latsen, Xiangkhouang 

Ban Latsen retained vestiges of the bird community 
described by David-Beaulieu, and by current-day Lao 
standards supported a rich selection of raptors (two 
species each of kite, harrier and falcon, and single each 
of accipiter and buzzard, as well as a fly-over Osprey). 
There was no sign of any of the rare or scarce migrant 
species recorded regularly by David-Beaulieu: Imperial 
Eagle Aquila heliaca , Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni 
(both globally threatened), Amur Falcon F. amurensis 
and potentially Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus. 
In February 1999, raptor numbers were low: Common 
Kestrel was the only species of which more than one 
individual was seen. In October, raptor numbers were 
much higher, as would be expected during this passage 
month, and a fair few were still present in November. 
There were at least ten harriers in the area in both these 
months. In April, only three harriers and a single 
accipiter were seen. The several short visits made were 
too short a period in which to assess whether the globally 
threatened species still occur, but even if they do not, 
the area clearly retains a migrant raptor community 
superior to that of most of Laos. Long-billed Vulture 
Gyps indicus (=Slender-billed Vulture G. tenuirostris ), 
White-rumped Vulture G. bengalensis and Red-headed 
Vulture Sarcogyps calvus were all formerly common 
residents, but seem now to have gone. Ducks were very 
few, even including the few individuals unidentified to 
species. It is clear from David-Beaulieu’s observations 
that numbers were not high even 60 years ago, except 
for Lesser Whistling-ducks, of which we saw none. 
Suitable habitat remains, but duck numbers are 
doubtless not building up because of the heavy human 


presence (observed directly and evident from,numerous 
signs). Few skulking marsh birds were found, and 
buffaloes eat most of the potential cover. The Great 
Bittern on sale at Ban Latsen market in February had 
been shot, reportedly immediately upon its arrival.The 
November Black Stork probably avoided a similar fate 
only because it stayed for less than 30 mins.The October 
Red-necked Phalarope suffered two attempted shots by 
a catapult before flying off. Any large or confiding bird 
would encourage similar attentions. In October, there 
was a relative richness of herons (although apart from 
pond herons there was no more than two of any 
individual species); all except pond herons had gone by 
November. Whether this reflected onward migration or 
death is unclear. The variety of waders in 1999-2000 
matched well that found by David-Beaulieu, although 
numbers of most species were small. Particularly notable 
in a conservation context was the presence of apparently 
territorial Red-wattled Lapwings, one of only two 
modern records from North Laos of a formerly 
widespread breeder. David-Beaulieu found Grey¬ 
headed Lapwings among the small flocks of this species; 
we saw none of the former, although some habitat looked 
perfect. Intensive trapping of swallows, a phenomenon 
probably peculiar to the province, is practised widely at 
Ban Latsen and other areas of similar habitat (Evans et 
al. 2000b); its effects on wild populations are unknown. 

The grassland community may be of most concern 
in a Lao context, but all medium-sized or large birds of 
all open habitats, and some small species, are greatly 
reduced by comparison with David-Beaulieu’s (1944) 
observations. No areas retaining good species richness 
and populations of the open plains community as 
described by David-Beaulieu are known from anywhere 
in Laos. In 1999-2000, only a single each of unidentified 
buttonquail, Barred Buttonquail and unidentified quail 
were seen. Barred,Yellow-legged and Small Buttonquails 
Turnix sylvatica, and Japanese and Blue-breasted Quails, 
were all common or abundant 60 years ago. Chinese 
Francohn also was formerly abundant; we recorded only 
one bird. There are no recent records of Short-eared 
Owl Asio flammeus from Laos; previously it was a regular 
winter visitor to the open plains, especially the Plain of 
Jars. The migrant population of Red Collared Dove has 
probably collapsed (see species account), and Spotted 
Dove (resident) and Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia 
orientalis (winter visitor) were formerly fairly common; 
we had no records of either, nor of Common Hoopoe, 
another formerly common species. All these species are 
likely to be targeted for food, but the situation with two 
seed-eating passerines in less clear. Russet Sparrow 
Passer rutilans and Crested Bunting Melophus lathami 
were abundant in the post-breeding season and summer 
respectively at the Plain of Jars (David-Beaulieu 1944); 
we recorded neither species, but whether we visited at 
an appropriate season to do so is unclear. If they were 
in flocks, they have probably succumbed to netting 
pressures; additionally, David-Beaulieu’s description of 
Scaly-breasted Munia (extremely common throughout) 
could hardly be applied today; we found the species on 
only one visit to Latsen, although habitat is ideal for it. 
Among sturnids, perhaps more vulnerable to capture 
as cagebirds rather than for eating, Chestnut-tailed and 
Black-collared Starlings and Common and White- 
vented Mynas used to be extremely common in the open 
habitats. We recorded all species except Common Myna, 




Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


17 


but apart from a flock of about 40 Black-collared 
Starlings and 50 Chestnut-tailed Starlings on one visit, 
only in small numbers (under a dozen of each species). 
Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea, formerly very 
common, has disappeared, as have the crows (see species 
account) on which it is a brood parasite.There were no 
observations at dusk or dawn in breeding season 1999 
or 2000, so we cannot comment on the status of Savanna 
Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis. It was formerly found to 
be common. Indian Roller, the only medium-sized bird 
still relatively common across settled areas elsewhere in 
Laos, was not found; but it was scarce at this high 
altitude even in David-Beaulieu’s time. Extensive 
suitable habitat appears to remain for all the foregoing 
open-country birds, and David-Beaulieu’s (1944) 
discussion of their seasonality and distribution indicates 
that reasonable numbers would have been expected on 
at least some of our visits, if the populations were still 
healthy. Barely restrained hunting/collection is surely 
responsible for the paucity of sightings. 

Ban Phonsavan pinewoods, Xiangkhouang 

These woods support, as found by David-Beaulieu 
(1944), a relatively species-poor but rather specialised 
community.This presumably results from their botanical 
simplicity. One species recorded thereabouts by David- 
Beaulieu (1944) but not found subsequently in Laos, 
Black-headed Greenfinch, was found commonly in 
1999-2000. Hwamei was the only other species found 
of conservation interest. There were no records of Great 
Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major. ; it has not been 
recorded in Laos since David-Beaulieu (1944) recorded 
it as fairly common above 1,000 m in Xiangkhouang, 
especially in pines. He noted that the species was shy, 
and more searching is clearly needed before assessing 
its present status. Some other characteristic pinewoods 
species noted by David-Beaulieu (1944), such as Grey- 
crowned Pygmy Woodpecker D. canicapillus , Burmese 
Shrike Lanius collurioides, Greater Necklaced 
Laughingthrush Garrulaxpectoralis and breeding Russet 
Sparrow, were also not found. The pinewoods visited 
were of low stature and generally degraded, and if the 
species listed require mature pinewoods, this may 
explain the lack of records. Views from the aeroplane 
suggested that there was little or no mature pinewood 
left in the vicinity. In November, the pinewoods 
supported many Buff-throated Warblers, a species with 
relatively few Lao records, and the many Great Tits are 
also noteworthy at a national level. 

Montane forest, Xiangkhouang 

Although small, the forest on Phou Gnouan supports 
several higher montane passerines, e.g. Red-tailed Minla, 
Whiskered Yuhina, Yellow-bellied Fantail and Crested 
Finchbill. Bar-backed Partridge and Grey Peacock 
Pheasant were discarded from the list of key species for 
Laos byThewlis et al. (1998) and their persistence in 
this small and very heavily hunted area of forest provides 
further evidence of their adaptability. There were many 
flycatchers on passage (especially Verditer and Blue-and- 
white in October, Slaty-backed in November, and 
various species in April). A similar concentration of 
migrant flycatchers in hills was noted in the Nam Hiang 
area of the Bolaven Plateau in April 1995 (Duckworth 
et al. 1998a). Such numbers have never been 
documented in lowland sites in Laos. A good selection 


of montane forest birds was recorded in the Ban 
Phonsavan market. The presence of two species 
previously unrecorded from Laos (Ashy Wood Pigeon 
and Purple Cochoa) indicates that other novelties 
doubtless await the first bird surveyors to visit such 
forest. The birds in the market were reported to have 
come from forest towards the Vietnamese border, which 
we were informed would take about a day to reach.This 
forest may lie within the Nam Chouan Proposed NBCA, 
an area rated a high priority for wildlife survey for some 
years (e.g. Berkmuller et al. 1995a,b). Ongoing security 
concerns have prevented access by outside surveyors. 

Harvesting of birds is very heavy in the montane 
forest. All guides carried (and used) catapults for birds. 
In November, gunshots were heard every hour or so. 
The bags of one party contained mainly thrushes. 
Hunters stated that they took whatever they 
encountered, but were particularly active in autumn 
because of all the arriving migrants. Numbers of pigeons, 
resident forest bulbuls, resident raptors, and other 
resident birds of the size of drongos or bigger seemed 
very low. There were many ground traps capable of 
catching birds such as partridges, robins and pittas; 
several dozen were in view from some individual points. 
David-Beaulieu (1944: 103) described a special trap 
widely operated for Large Niltavas; we saw none of these 
traps, but did not specifically look. The hundreds of 
Brown-breasted Bulbuls in the fallow hai are caught 
opportunistically, but appeared not to be targeted, 
apparently because it is difficult to get close enough to 
them. 

Market trading in Ban Phonsavan 

Bird trade in Ban Phonsavan was very high compared 
with markets in South and Central Laos in 1998-1999. 
Although towns such as Ban Lak (20) and Pakxan had 
large and visible daily trading in mammals and birds as 
late as 1996, visible trading has largely stopped through 
local enforcement of wildlife trading laws. There has 
probably been little enforcement activity in Ban 
Phonsavan, as traders were happy to be questioned and 
photographed. The species observed are listed in 
Appendix 1 .The rate of turnover of wildlife was unclear. 
Passerines have a limited display life. Unsold birds were 
plucked and roasted at the end of a day’s trading. The 
display life of species traded live (e.g. Mountain Bamboo 
Partridge) is probably longer. It is unknown how similar 
patterns are in other Lao markets, or even in the same 
market in different seasons: it is clear that any serious 
study of trading volumes must investigate trading 
patterns first to allow optimal sampling design. Traders 
stated that the volume supplied to them varied 
depending on which days small district and village 
markets were held. 

Muang Xaisomboun 

The degraded habitats visited around this town provided 
little of interest. Some effort in the grassland 
corroborated the rather low numbers of birds (except 
Richard’s Pipit) found at Ban Latsen. The visit was a 
little late for recording migrant raptors, although a few 
were seen. The record of Ratchet-tailed Treepie was in 
atypical habitat, and the records of Nepal House Martin 
were further evidence that this species is widespread in 
Laos, but associated with specific habitat (rugged karst 
and scarps). 



18 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Upper Lao Mekong Channel 

Boat-based counts for the entire length of the Mekong 
boated are given by section in Table 1. Stretches of the 
Upper Lao Mekong Channel comprise three basic 
habitat types. Firstly, featureless stretches with a well- 
defined channel, but few or no marginal sedimentary 
features, rocks, seasonally inundated vegetation or 
islands. Secondly, stretches with many and/or large 
sandbars, but few rocks, and only sparse or patchy 
perennial vegetation. Thirdly, mosaic stretches, where 
the stream channel at low-flow season comprises a rich 
and varied mix of extensive sand and gravel features, 
reaching out from banks as bars, and as islands, and 
extensive rock outcrops. These mosaic stretches often 
have wide colonisation by bushland and/or grassland. 
Among the bushland, Homonoia riparia (Euphorbiaceae) 
is a predominant species, having been identified from 
Vientiane Municipality and Pakchom; it appears to 
occur downstream as far as Khong Chiam, but in ever- 
smaller patches. The channel vegetation of the Mekong 
in South Lao was characterised by Maxwell (2000); we 
have not traced any botanical work in the Upper Lao 
Mekong. The bird communities of these three sorts of 
habitats differ in their conservation significance and in 
susceptibility to human influence. Additionally, parts 
of some islands projected above high-flow water level 
and supported trees. These rarely submerged habitats 
look similar to adjacent floodplain vegetation, were not 
covered well during the present survey, and are not 
discussed further. 

Featureless stretches can be easily travelled and 
hunted by people. The banks are often heavily settled. 
Birds persisting in them were generally adaptable species 
of agricultural areas. In less settled stretches, there were 
a few River Lapwings along the water margins, and in 
the far north Plain Martins fed and probably bred. Other 
key and/or quarry species were largely absent. Long 
stretches of such habitats presumably coloured the view 
of Delacour and Greenway (1940a) of the fauna of the 
upper Mekong as being poor and monotonous, with 
innumerable River Lapwings, kingfishers, wagtails and 
rock thrushes, and far from the exuberant avian life of 
the lower Mekong. River Lapwing was also noted as 
‘common’ on the banks of the Mekong by Bingham and 
Thompson (1901). 

In stretches with open sandy islands, human access 
is also easy and in most areas quarry species were scarce. 
Among key species, Small Pratincole was often common 
in such stretches and occasional Grey Herons were 
present. Muddier areas supported various migrant 
waders and, in areas with lower disturbance. River 
Lapwings. Historical sources (see above) indicate that 
the large sandbars formerly supported many terns, large 
waterbirds and other species vulnerable to human 
disturbance, but these are almost entirely gone.The best 
areas for large birds seem to be near big towns, notably 
the Ban Muangmom-Chiang Saen area. Here, although 
resident species are extinct, there were an impressive 
number of large, potentially shootable, migrants: egrets, 
ducks, cormorants, gulls etc and the sole tern of the 
trip was seen in such an area. Presumably, these birds 
are less likely to be shot here than in less populated 
areas, because shooting in border areas is strongly 
discouraged, and there is more chance of being caught 
when closer to a town. 


Mosaic stretches supported by far the most 
interesting bird communities and those of highest 
conservation value. This comes probably partly from 
habitat heterogeneity (sheer rocks for Wire-tailed 
Swallow; rocky bushland for Jerdon’s Bushchats; 
sandbars for River Lapwings etc) but doubtless also 
reflects the difficulties of human access. A well-braided 
stream through rugged rocks and tangled bushland 
cannot easily be crossed either by boat or on foot, and 
quarry species can presumably best survive here.These 
stretches support almost all remaining key species, and 
at the highest densities. Nonetheless, populations of 
sensitive species are seriously depressed even in these 
habitats. In South Laos such habitat around 
Seephandon (Champasak Province) has been heavily 
degraded, but from further south, observations from 
Cambodia (Poole et al. in prep.) suggest that these 
habitats would have supported formerly some species 
now gone, or nearly gone, from the Upper Lao Mekong, 
e.g. River Tern and resident large waterbirds. Whether 
such stretches would support other vanishing or 
vanished species, notably Great Cormorant and Indian 
Skimmer Rynchops albicollis , is unclear. The limited 
information from elsewhere in Indochina suggests that 
such stretches probably would not be suitable for Black- 
bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda and Little Tern 5. albifrons : 
all recent breeding-season records of these are from 
sandbar stretches (Poole et al. in prep.). The breeding- 
season bird community of channel bushland at Paksang 
(Vientiane Municipality) was described by Duckworth 
(1996). In the non-breeding season, the similar-looking 
bushland in Bokeo similarly supported large numbers 
of a few species of passerines: Red-throated Flycatcher, 
Oriental Magpie Robin, Common Stonechat, Jerdon’s 
Bushchat, Dusky Warbler,Yellow-browedWarbler, Olive- 
backed Pipit and Black-faced Bunting. The lack of 
records in Bokeo of Streak-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus 
blanfordi, a conspicuous common resident at Paksang, 
suggests genuine absence or scarcity: North Laos is near 
the northern extent of its world range (Robson 2000). 
The newly described Mekong Wagtail Motacilla 
samveasnae , so typical of channel mosaic habitat further 
south in the Mekong (Duckworth et al. 2001), was 
specifically searched for on the April visit, but seems to 
be absent this far north. While hunters were not openly 
encountered in channel mosaic, many wader snares were 
found around Ban Namgnon-Kao, one of which 
contained a live Pintail Snipe. These were set by the 
edge of small pools within the mosaic. In the shallow 
water of larger pools and at the main stream margin 
were set many hooks baited with small fish. Although 
these were probably set for large fish, they would also 
be capable of catching fish-eating birds. Sixty years ago, 
Delacour and Greenway (1940a) noted such habitat 
around Ban Houayxai as much more bird-filled, in 
particular with larger numbers of terns, waders, ardeids 
and storks. The ghost of such excitement remains. 

In this stretch of the Mekong, boat traffic was very 
heavy; 6-12 boats (sometimes more) typically passed 
per daylight hour. Craft ranged from ponderous Chinese 
trading ships through cargo barges to speedboats and 
wooden pirogues. Manoeuvrable small boats probably 
facilitate bird harvesting, but by contrast in most areas 
birds were surprisingly tolerant of large or fast boats, 
especially around large towns. Disturbance of sandbars, 
riverbanks and other accessible riverine areas by people 




Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


19 


and, in rural areas, stock, was very high along most 
stretches, as in most of Laos. The least settled stretches 
seemed to be parts of the Myanmar-Lao border. 
Mapping village locations would help clarify disturbance 
levels, as bird behaviour implied that threats come chiefly 
from people on foot or in small slow village boats, rather 
than from long-distance boats. Such mapping was not 
attempted, because it would have eroded time from 
searching for birds. 

Most of the fertile Bokeo floodplain supports 
intensive cropping, and vegetable gardens also covered 
much of the seasonally exposed river channel. The few 
areas outside the cropping cycle were bands of scrub 
along streams, areas invaded by exotic mimosa (mainly 
or entirely Mimosa pigra ), and, presumably formerly 
more widespread, tall cane-grass beds. All the latter were 
heavily trampled by buffaloes, damaged by burning, and 
usually persisted only as thin strips. Bird species 
associated with this habitat, such as the Red Avadavat 
Amandava amandava (never recorded from Laos but 
known from adjacent parts of Thailand: Boonsong 
Lekagul and Round 1991), are probably severely 
threatened. Above the floodplain, vast areas of foothills 
are swathed in coarse shrubs, ruderals and tough grass, 
with remaining forest being fragmented and degraded. 
Land habitats were not visited downstream of Ban 
Houayxai. A century ago, this part of the Mekong was 
specifically cited as supporting Wreathed Hornbills 
Aceros undulatus (Bingham and Thompson 1901), and 
Delacour and Greenway (1940a) observed hornbills 
flying over the Mekong. We saw none. 

Many quarry species were found in the Upper Lao 
Mekong, although numbers seemed well below the 
habitat’s probable carrying capacity. River Tern, Great 
Cormorant, Great Thick-knee, Pied Kingfisher, Large¬ 
billed Crow and probably Blue-tailed Bee-eater were 
reduced to isolated small numbers. Spot-billed Duck, 
Grey Heron and wintering egrets occurred in larger, 
but still presumably depressed, numbers and seemed 
localised to certain stretches. The presence of wintering 
egrets was notable, because across most of Laos (e.g. 
Ban Latsen; Appendix 1), egrets occur only on passage. 
Areas with wintering egrets, such as the northern zone 
of Xe Pian NBCA (Thewlis et al. 1996) and Ban Sivilai, 
Thulakhom District, Vientiane Province (Parr and Parr 
1998; J. W. K. Parr in litt. 2000), are now exceptional in 
Laos. River Lapwing was still widespread in the Upper 
Lao Mekong, although linear densities seemed below 
carrying capacity. Grey-headed Lapwing and Small 
Pratincole were numerous in certain stretches and may 
not have been much reduced in population. Common 
Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Kentish Plover, Little 
Ringed Plover, Blue Rock Thrush, Jerdon’s Bushchat, 
Plain Martin, Wire-tailed Swallow and White Wagtail 
Motacilla alba alboides were widespread and abundant 
in some stretches. A return visit in April confirmed that 
large populations of River Lapwing, Small Pratincole 
and Jerdon’s Bushchat were breeding, and that Plain 
Martin and Wire-tailed Swallow were present in 
comparable numbers. No stretch found in winter to hold 
Great Thick-knee was visited in April, but the species 
was recorded in a different site. There are also recent 
records of occasional geese Anser and shelducks Tadorna 
from the Chiang Saen area, but there is no evidence 
that these species have ever been regular anywhere in 
Laos (Duckworth et al. 1999). There is one record of 


Long-billed Plover Charadrius placidus from Sangthong 
(R. Jelinek in Duckworth etal. 1999).This species could 
easily have been overlooked from boats on the present 
trip; Delacour and Greenway (1940b) recorded one at 
Ban Nam Kheung-Kao in winter 1938-1939. The key 
species that remain, while impressive in a present-day 
context, are a shadow of the former riverine bird 
community. 

Historically, this community included various large 
waterbirds. Darter Anhinga melanogaster and Black Ibis 
Pseudibis papillosa were clearly both common and were 
recorded by most trips up the Mekong north ofVientiane 
(Oustalet 1898, Bingham and Thompson 1901, Bangs 
and vanTyne 1931, Robinson and Kloss 1931, Delacour 
and Greenway 1940b). Both Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos 
dubius and Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger were 
recorded by Bingham andThompson (1901) in adjacent 
Myanmar, the former explicitly from ‘close to the 
Mekong’. Small numbers of Woolly-necked Stork 
Ciconia episcopus and Black-necked Stork 
Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus were recorded by Delacour 
and Greenway (1940b), and of Painted Stork Mycteria 
leucocephala by Bangs and vanTyne (1931). Grey-headed 
Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus may also have 
occurred (Oustalet 1898, but see Thewlis et al. 1998). 
Certain other species may also have declined. Cattle 
Egret was common between Ban Houayxai and Ban 
Namkeung-Kao in mid-winter 1938-1939 (Delacour 
and Greenway 1940b). We found none there, although 
a few were seen around Ban Muangmom flying to roost 
in Thailand. Delacour and Greenway (1940b) found 
Osprey fairly frequent along the Mekong. We saw none 
along there in 1999-2000, although it is common at 
the Nam Ngum reservoir (e.g. nine in only a small sector 
of the reservoir on 6 December 1998: JWD pers. obs.). 
Delacour and Greenway (1940b) had several Crested 
Kingfishers Megaceryle lugubris around Ban Namkeung- 
Kao. We found none. 

The chief differences apparent between winter and 
April in the bird community were increases in 
Dollarbird, White-throated Kingfisher, Black-capped 
Kingfisher,Temminck’s Stint, egrets and Chinese Pond 
Heron, and decreases in Grey-headed Lapwing, 
Common Kestrel, Grey Heron and Barn Swallow. Most 
of these are well-known migrants, and although there 
may be an alternative explanation for changes in 
observed numbers ofWhite-throated Kingfisher, Carey 
et al. (2001) speculated that there may be long-distance 
migration of this species in east Asia. A number of other 
species recorded in April but not winter are likely to be 
passage migrants (e.g. Brown-headed Gull), while others 
recorded in winter but not April are likely to be winter 
visitors (e.g. Northern Pintail). However, samples are 
too small to assert such patterns. 

The conservation importance of this stretch of the 
Mekong cannot be compared with that lying to the north 
(largely in China), as no comparative data are available. 
It seems similar to the stretch from Savannakhet to 
Pakxe (see Evans et al. 2000a, Evans 2001). South of 
Pakxe and through Cambodia to Phnom Penh, the 
Mekong and its major tributaries support a much larger 
number of globally and regionally threatened species, 
and populations of most of the sensitive species are 
healthier (Poole et al. in prep.). The Red River in 
northern Vietnam is another wide lowland river with 
much of the channel exposed in the low-flow season. 



20 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


This river has not been systematically surveyed, although 
there are various unpublished observations (J. C. Eames 
verbally 1997; JWD unpublished data) on selected 
species. There is no information available concerning 
sandbar breeders, but Pied Kingfisher remains common. 
Numbers of large migrants are higher along the Red 
River than in the Mekong. These include Grey Heron 
(see species account), Common Buzzard, Peregrine 
Falcon, Common Kestrel, Greylag Goose Anser anser 
and even, in some winters, flocks of Common Cranes 
Grus grus and occasional Black Storks. These differences 
may reflect partly the much tighter control over civilian 
gun use in Vietnam than in Laos over the last decade. 
Another important factor is the Red River’s proximity 
to the coast; numbers of passage migrant passerines are 
much higher (10-50 times so) by the Red River in Hanoi 
than by the Mekong in Vientiane (JWD unpublished 
data).The nearest other large river, the Chao Phraya in 
Thailand, is extremely heavily settled and very degraded. 
Moving even further west, recent observations from the 
upper Irrawaddy in Myanmar indicate that this wide 
river, compared with the Mekong and Red River, retains 
the closest to an original river-channel large bird 
community, with many cranes, storks, geese, ducks, 
vultures, terns and others (Anon. 2000, J. Howes verbally 
2000 ). 

Dryland areas of Bokeo 

No unencroached forest was entered, although various 
forest species were found in forest fragments on the 
lower slopes of Phou Phadeng (Appendix l).The upland 
rice fields and the harvested floodplain paddies 
supported a few species not common on the Vientiane 
Plain, notably Yellow-eyed Babbler. Raptor numbers 
were low and crows almost extirpated, as throughout 
much of Laos. Three species unrecorded in Laos in 
recent years were recorded in the past from open habitats 
of the far northern floodplains: Black-billed Magpie Pica 
pica , Asian Pied Starling Sturnus contra and Chestnut 
Munia Lonchura malacca. Asian Pied Starling was 
recorded exactly in the area visited in 1999-2000, in 
Ban Houayxai and Ban Namkeung-Kao, by Delacour 
and Greenway (1940b). A special search was made for 
this species inland from Ban Namgnon-Kao.This valley 
had a stream flowing through harvested paddies (at all 
stages of dampness from open water to dry) interspersed 
with small areas of scrub. Half the valley was searched, 
and held approximately 220 buffaloes, cattle and horses 
but not even a single sturnid was seen. In less heavily 
settled areas of Laos (e.g. Xe Pian NBCA northern 
zone), such habitat still supports good numbers of 
sturnids.The only records of any in Bokeo were of up 
to 22 White-vented Mynas around Ban Muangmom 
(December and April) and two Black-collared Starlings 
near Ban Namgniou in April. This contrasts with the 
abundance 60 years ago of Chestnut-tailed Starling, 
Black-collared Starling, Common Myna and White- 
vented Myna, which were all specifically noted as 
common or abundant around Ban Houayxai and/or Ban 
Namkeung-Kao by Delacour and Greenway (1940b). 
Starlings and mynas are popular cage-birds across Laos 
and, as hole-nesters, they are vulnerable to nest robbery 
and, in areas of intensive agriculture, nest site loss. The 
Bokeo-Ban Muangyo area is the only part of Laos where 
Asian Pied Starling was ever recorded; its current 
national conservation status looks grim. In adjacent 


parts of north Thailand, the species is uncommon or 
rare: there are no recent records from Chiang Saen or 
the plains around Chiang Mai (PDR unpublished data) 
even though it was formerly very common in the latter 
site (Deignan 1945). 

Hundreds of munias were seen per day, but no 
Chestnut Munias were found. The lack of records does 
not necessarily mean they were not present, as many 
birds could not be identified. In northern Thailand it is 
now a rare bird, although there are still occasional 
records from north-central wetlands (PDR unpublished 
data). The lack of records of Black-billed Magpie was 
to be expected. The species’s population has collapsed 
in Vietnam (J. C. Eames verbally 1998) and there are 
only a few records from Thailand (Watola 1993, PDR 
unpublished data). Although it was not recorded in 
Bokeo in the past, there is a record from nearby 
Phongsali (Bangs and van Tyne 1931), and, moreover, 
a century ago it was abundant in the eastern Southern 
Shan States, Myanmar, and occurred ‘close to the banks 
of the Mekong’ (Bingham and Thompson 1901). 
Observations in dryland habitats were too limited to 
merit firm comparisons with those of Delacour and 
Greenway (1940b), but some differences may be 
significant. Earlier, Red Junglefowl was abundant in the 
lowlands but seemed to be very scarce in 1999-2000. 
Common Hoopoe and two species of green pigeon were 
formerly common in the lowlands but we saw none. 
Delacour and Greenway (1940b) made many 
observations from the montane zone, and many 
differences between their results and ours (e.g. they 
found that Little Cuckoo Dove Macropygia ruficeps was 
common, but we did not record it) may reflect 
differences in coverage. 

Middle Lao Mekong 

The land-based observations gave valuable information 
about this otherwise little-known bird community. A 
good selection of migrant waders was found, most 
surprisingly Grey-tailed Tattler. About 50 Common 
Greenshanks offTha Uthen (Thailand) on 24 April 2000 
was also notable. Breeding waders included a wide 
distribution for both Little Ringed Plover and Small 
Pratincole, but River Lapwing and Great Thick-knee 
were very local. The only terns seen were migrants, of 
two Chlidonias species. Records of Brahminy Kite from 
the southern part of the covered stretch are the first 
recent Lao records away from the far south. Three 
Pheasant-tailed Jacanas Hydrophasianus chirurgus in 
breeding plumage, sitting on the Mekong offTha Uthen 
on 24 April 2000 were an odd sight; none of the other 
few recent Lao records comes from a river situation. A 
colony of House Sparrows nesting in trees (8-10 nests) 
on the river promenade in Nakhon Phanom (Thailand) 
is a noteworthy record of this recent colonist. Many birds 
in the river channel are not visible from the road, 
especially in the middle of the day. The observations 
here (and by the same methods for the Upper Lao 
Mekong) certainly will have missed many, even where 
the road follows the river closely; as it does for the 
channel mosaic around and upstream of Sangthong. For 
example, no Jerdon’s Bushchats were seen from the road, 
even where known to be present in the Upper Lao 
Mekong. Human use of the river in this stretch is 
extremely high. Further surveys are needed to allow 
comparison with the stretches to the north and south. 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


21 


On the Thai part of the floodplain, and from a Thai 
perspective, the rarity of Indian Rollers, and the lack of 
Spotted Dove, Red Collared Dove and White-throated 
Kingfisher was especially noticeable from at least 
Nakhon Phanom downstream, in spite of the paddies 
and lightly wooded country seeming eminently suitable. 
These medium-sized birds are typically not very 
common in Laos, presumably due to the high hunting 
pressure. Nor were there any records of Common 
Hoopoe, and there was only one of Large-billed Crow. 
However, compared with Laos, the presence of 
Common and White-vented Mynas throughout, with a 
few Black-collared Starlings at a few sites, was 
encouraging. Bright-headed Cisticolas were generally 
distributed along the banks. It is unclear if this species 
was widely overlooked in Laos, or is genuinely a new 
colonist (Evans 2001). 


SELECTED SPECIES ACCOUNTS 

Accounts are given for all species providing the first 
recent record(s) for North, Central, or South Laos, for 
all species identified as Key Species for conservation in 
Laos by Duckworth et al. (1999), and for selected others 
of distributional or conservation interest. Species 
accounts are split into sections: Upper Lao Mekong 
includes boat- and land-based observations between Ban 
Xiangkhok and Louangphabang, and boat-based 
observations from Paklay to Vientiane. Use of ‘winter’ 
and ‘April’ refers to the two boat trips, with counts 
detailed in Table 1; other records are given a month 
and year. Vientiane includes only Mekong channel and 
bank observations from Vientiane Municipality; stretch 
15 of Upper Lao Mekong (see Table 1) falls within the 
municipality, but the boat-based records are treated 
under Upper Lao Mekong for comparative purposes. 
Middle Lao Mekong includes the records (largely 
made from the Thai bank) from downstream of 
Vientiane Municipality, as far as Khong Chiam, Ubon 
Ratchathani Province,Thailand. Xaisomboun includes 
records from Muang Xaisomboun. Xiangkhouang 
includes all observations from that province. Species 
marked f were only found in markets. 

Japanese Quail Coturnix japonica 
Little Known in Laos 

Vientiane: A male in rich ephemeral growth, Don 
Chuan, 8 May 1999. Xiangkhouang: one quail, not 
identified to species, in foothill grassland adjacent to 
Ban Latsen on 9 October 1999. 

Substantial time was spent walking through grass at 
Ban Latsen and in the hills around Muang Xaisomboun 
looking for quails, with little result. By contrast, David- 
Beaulieu (1944) described Japanese Quail as a regular 
and abundant winter visitor to Xiangkhouang, being 
particularly numerous in November. A major decline 
seems to have occurred. No long-term trend can be 
identified in Hong Kong (Carey et al. 2001), but a 
twentieth-century decline has occurred in Japan (Brazil 
1991). The bird on Don Chuan had extensive rufous 
on the face. Common Quail C. coturnix sometimes shows 
some rufous on the face (Grimmett et al. 1998) but no 
specimen at NHM,Tring, U.K. is extensively brick-red. 
Common Quail has been recorded in South-East Asia 


only in west and south Myanmar (Robson 2000): it is 
presumably not very likely in Laos. As a further 
complication, Japanese Quails are widely kept in 
captivity across Laos, and birds may presumably escape 
occasionally. 

Blue-breasted Quail Coturnix chinensis 

Little Known in Laos 

Vientiane: One male and five females in rich ephemeral 
growth, Don Chuan, 8 May 1999. Xiangkhouang: see 
Japanese Quail. 

There are few recent records of this species in Laos 
(Duckworth et al. 1998a, 1999). It is clearly not regular 
on Don Chuan in winter, perhaps because herbs are 
then sparse. It may move locally in response to changing 
habitat conditions. At least five Yellow-legged 
Buttonquails and a Japanese Quail were also present in 
this habitat on the same day. In winter, typically only 
0-2 unidentified buttonquails are observed. 

Spot-billed Duci</li7as poecilorhyncha 
Upper Lao Mekong: Totals of c.70 in winter and 34- 
114 in April (Table 1), in two habitat types: on large 
open sandy islands near major towns in the far north, 
and among big areas of channel mosaic. Twenty-six off 
Chiang Saen on 22 January 2000; seven in the Pakchom 
sandbar area and seven at 18°06’20”N 101°58’45”E in 
late April 2000. Vientiane: One at Don Chuan on 7 
November 1998. Four birds atop a mid-stream rock off 
Ban Nasa (Vientiane) on 26 September 1999. River 
height was at about maximum for the year. At Ban 
Thadua, 4-15 regularly in February-April 1999, and 
about 50 on 21 November 1999. 

These numbers are well below the potential carrying 
capacity of the area. Recent Lao records are mostly in 
the Vientiane area (Duckworth 1996,Thewlis etal. 1996, 
Duckworth et al. 1998a, Evans et al. 2000a). In both 
these habitat types, hunting may well be lower than in 
other stretches (see above). Two forms of this duck, 
perhaps separate species, may occur in Laos; the 
observers were usually unable to separate them. 
Midsummer records along the Mekong (Duckworth 
1996) suggest that a form, presumably A.p. haringtonae, 
is resident, and birds at Ban Thadua in March and April 
were felt to be this form. Two of four there on 13 
February 1999 showed at least some characters of A. 
(p.) zonorhyncha , which is likely to be a winter visitor. 
There are no confirmed records of the latter from Laos. 
Seasonality of occurrence in northern Thailand is 
unclear (PDR unpublished data). 

Northern Pintail Anas acuta 

Upper Lao Mekong: Four at Chiang Saen on 30 
December 1999 (Table 1) and nine there on 22 January 
2000. Vientiane: 15 flew downstream past Don Chuan 
on 7 November 1998. A female at Ban Thadua on 20 
March 1999. 

These are the first recent records for North Laos, 
although there are also unpublished records from Ban 
Sivilai (e.g. five on 6 February 1999: L. G. Watson in 
litt. 2000), and records from Central Laos (Evans and 
Timmins 1998). Historically, small numbers were 
recorded occasionally in Xiangkhouang and 
Savannakhet Provinces (David-Beaulieu 1944, 1949- 
1950). 



22 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Table 1. Counts of some riverine bird species from the Upper Lao Mekong. 


Stretch number 

1 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

7 

8 

9 

10 

11 

12 

13 

14 

15 

Rec 

Length (km) 

88 

17.5 

61 

38 

103.5 

28 

41 

30.5 

41 

26 

67 

59.5 

28.5 

19 

53.5 


Number of trips in winter 

2 

2 

2 

1 

1 

1 

1 

1 

3 

3 

1 

1 

1 

1 

1 


Number of trips in spring 

2 

2 

2 

1 

1 

1 

1 

1 

1 

1 

0 

0 

0 

0 

0 


Best boat type in winter 

fast 

slow 

slow 

tour 

tour 

tour 

tour 

tour 

slow 

slow' 

slow 

slow 

slow 

slow 

slow 


Best boat type in spring 

slow 

slow 

slow 

tour 

tour 

tour 

tour 

tour 

tour 

tour 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 


Species 

















Spot-billed Duck 

c40 

24 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

3 

- 

- 

fair 


1-80 

22 

12 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Northern Pintail, w 

- 

4 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

fair 

Indian Roller 

1 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

- 

2 

2 

3 

3 

6 

fair 


- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Dollarbird, s 

4 

- 

- 

- 

i 

3 

5 

i 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

fair 

Common Kingfisher, s 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

fair 

White-throated Kingfisher 

3 

- 

1 

- 

2 

1 

1 

2 

i 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

fair 


7 

3 

5 

2 

6 

3 

9 

3 

3 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Black-capped Kingfisher 

- 

- 

- 

- 

i 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

fair 


- 

- 

1 

- 

9 

6 

26 

9 

22 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Pied Kingfisher, s 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

fair 

Green Bee-eater, w 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 

[Blue-tailed Bee-eater], s 

3 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, s 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

Greater Coucal 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


- 

- 

- 

i 

- 

1 

2 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Red-breasted Parakeet, w 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

4 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 

Swiftlet sp., s 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

Brown-backed Needletail, s 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

4 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

White-breasted Waterhen, s 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

1 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

[Pintail Snipe], s 

i 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

Spotted Redshank 

- 

25 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

67 

poor 


- 

40+ 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Marsh Sandpiper, s 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

Common Greenshank 

i? 

7 

9 

7 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

i 

poor 


3 

4 

19 

5 

4 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Common Sandpiper 

1 

1 

1 

5 

1 

1 

i 

- 

i 

- 

- 

4 

1 

- 

1 

poor 


1 

1 

10 

7 

1 

- 

i 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Temminck’s Stint, s 

- 

9 

7 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

Great Thick-knee, w 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

4(2) 

- 

- 

- 

- 

fair 

Black-winged Stilt, s 

- 

- 

4 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

fair 

Little Ringed Plover 

1 

- 

4 

1 

7(6) 

- 

- 

- 

3(2) 

3(2) 

c 

c 

c 

c 

c 

poor 


- 

4(2) 

8(5) 

2(2) 

1 

- 

- 

- 

1 

2(2) 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Kentish Plover 

- 

- 

8 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


- 

1 

4 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Small plover sp. 

- 

1 

4 

3 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

c 

c 

c 

c 

c 

poor 


- 

- 

4 

2(2) 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


River Lapwing 

25 (13) 

- 

17(5) 

6(4) 

13(6) 

6(2) 

9(5) 

- 

8(2) 

3(2) 

30 (14) 

3(2) 

6(3) 

- 

3(1) 

fair 


33 (23) 

2(2) 

6(4) 

3(3) 

15(12) 

2(2) 

10(6) 

2(2) 

3(2) 

5(4) 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Grey-headed Lapwing 

1 

- 

33 

4 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

10 

6 

1 

- 

- 

fair 


- 

- 

11 

4 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Lapwing sp., w 

2 

- 

4 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

2 

- 

- 

- 

poor 

Small Pratincole 

i 

840 

200 

230 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

34 

36 

61 

18 

- 

103 

poor 


39 

380 

202 

315 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


W.ADER SP(P). 

40 

15 

3 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

15 

9 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


40 

20 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Brown-headed Gull, s 

- 

9 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

fair 

Herring-type gull, w 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

fair 

River Tern, w 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

fair 

Crested Serpent Eagle 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

3 

2 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Shikra 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

2 

1 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Accipiter sp. 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

1 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


1 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 









Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


23 


Kestrel sp. 

- 

- 

2 

1 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Peregrine Falcon, w 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 

Great Coraiorant, w 

- 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

fair 

Little Egret 

- 

4 

5 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1? 

fair 


1 

4 

8 

1 

- 

5 

- 

- 

- 

30 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Grey Heron 

7 

5 

5 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

2 

1 

- 

- 

3 

fair 


1 

- 

1 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Great Egret 

- 

[1] 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

fair 


- 

4 

4 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Egret sp. 

- 

1 

10 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

fair 


- 

2 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Cattle Egret, s 

1 

- 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

25 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

fair 

Chinese Pond Heron, s 

7 

1 

1 

- 

1 

5 

10 

1 

7 

1 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

fair 

Pond heron sp. 

- 

- 

1 

- 

6 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

3 

- 

1 

fair 


1 

1 

- 

- 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Little Heron 

2 

- 

2 

- 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


2 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Large-billed Crow 

2(1) 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2(1) 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


2(2) 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2(2) 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Blue Rock Thrush 

c 

- 

- 

1 

4 

1 

1 

- 

6 

- 

- 

5 

5 

2 

1 

poor 


1 

- 

1 

- 

4 

6 

1 

2 

6 

2 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Common Stonechat 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

1 

- 

2 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Pied Bushchat, w 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

- 

- 

poor 

Jerdon’s Bushchat 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

1 

- 

10 

34 

8 

8 

2 

poor 


9 

- 

3 

1 

2 

- 

- 

1 

2 

8 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Black-collared Starling, w 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

3(1) 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 

White-vented Myna, s 

- 

8 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

Plain Martin 

c300 

3 

2 

20 

23 

1 

13 

7 

10 

- 

11 

16 

5 

2 

- 

fair 


121 

1 

4 

2 

- 

- 

1 

3 

4 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Barn Swallow 

40 

105 

9 

- 

12 

- 

- 

2 

20 

3 

15 

8 

- 

- 

3 

fair 


13 

- 

16 

- 

6 

- 

2 

- 

4 

4 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Wire-tailed Swallow 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

- 

1 

6 

6 

- 

28 

9 

2 

1 

fair 


- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

2 

1 

1 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Red-rumped/Striated Swallow 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

15 

- 

- 

poor 


2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

4 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


House martin sp., s 

- 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

Hirundine sp. 

5 

- 

1 

- 

- 

- 

1 

1 

2 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

poor 


1 

- 

200 

6 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


White Wagtail 

c 

- 

- 

6 

c 

3 

1 

1 

12 

c 

c 

c 

c 

c 

c 

fair 


6 

- 

2 

2 

15 

2 

- 

- 

3 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 


Citrine Wagtail, s 

- 

1 

36 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 

Yellow Wagtail, s 

- 

- 

4 

1 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

- 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

n/c 

poor 


Stretch numbers: 1, Ban Xiangkhok - Ban Muangmom M ; 2, Ban Muangmom - Ban Tonpheung T ; 3, BanTonpheung - Ban Khonkeo 1 ; 4, 
Ban Houayxai - Ban Paktha 1 ; 5, Ban Paktha - Muang Pakbeng L ; 6, Muang Pakbeng - BanThaxoang L ; 7, Ban Thaxoang - Ban Bo L ; 8, 

Ban Bo - Ban Lay L ; 9, Ban Lay - Pak Ou L ; 10, Pak Ou - Louangphabang 1 ; 11, Paklay - unnamed village at Xaignabouli/Thai border 1 ; 12, 
Xaignabouli/Thai border - Ban Vang T ; 13, Ban Vang - Don Chan T ; 14, Don Chan - Paksang 1 ; 15, Paksang - Vientiane 1 ^indicates that 
much or all of the stretch has Laos on both banks; T indicates that much or all of the stretch has Thailand on one bank; “indicates that 
much or all of the stretch has Myanmar on one bank). 

Boat-type: fast, speedboat, with limited observation potential; tour, tourist barge, speed adequately slow but not able to scan above or to 
all forward angles; slow, slow boat with observer sat in bows and able to scan to all forward angles and above. ‘Best’ means the boat type 
that yielded the best results in cases where more than one pass was made using more than one boat type. 

Rec: this refers to the comprehensiveness of recording for each species, i.e. it estimates the proportion of birds present that were actually 
recorded. In some stretches heavy braiding of the channel meant that some birds were not even potentially visible. In most stretches 
limited attention was paid to the sky and so high-flying aerial species were under-recorded. Small, cryptic, skulking and/or bold species 
unlikely to flush were in general recorded less efficiently that larger, easily visible, prominently perching, flying and/or flushing species. 

Counts for species give the maximum on any trip through the stretch, the upper row for winter (27 December 1999 - 8 January 2000), 
the lower row for spring (7-11 April 2000); species recorded in only one of the two seasons are indicated ‘w’ (winter) or ‘s’ (spring). In 
stretch 3 there were significant land-based observations and where, for large waders (shanks, lapwings, Small Pratincole) these exceeded 
the count from the boat, the land-based observations are included, ‘c’ indicates that the species was present but not counted in the 
stretch; most such species were common. Where two figures are given, the first is the number of individuals and the second (in parenthe¬ 
ses) the number of groups, ‘n/c’ means that the stretch was not counted in the relevant season; a dash (-) that although the stretch was 
counted, no birds were seen. Particularly for smaller and/or less conspicuous species, the lack of records should not be taken to imply 
absence. Rows for ‘sp.’ exclude counts of birds identified to species. 

Key species (as listed in Duckworth et al. 1999) are in bold. Records in square brackets represent provisional identifications. 




24 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Garganey Anas querquedula 

Xiangkhouang: At Ban Latsen, 11-18 on 9 October 
1999. 

This is the first recent published record for North 
Laos, although it is by far the most frequently recorded 
Anas species in South and Central Laos (Thewlis et al. 
1996, Duckworth et al. 1998, Evans andTimmins 1998). 
Additionally, PD recorded the species (one in a small 
flock of Spot-billed Ducks) upstream of Vientiane on 
the Mekong in December 1996. Historically, Garganeys 
were found mixed in with Common Teal flocks in 
Xiangkhouang and Savannakhet Provinces, but were less 
numerous (David-Beaulieu 1944, 1949-1950); a 
reversal of today’s ratio. 

Common Thai. Anas crecca 

Vientiane: Two pairs at Ban Thadua on 13 February 

1999. Xiangkhouang: A male at Ban Latsen on 13-14 
February 1999. 

The only other recent record for North Laos was 
overlooked by Duckworth et al. (1999): up to 10 by the 
Mekong in Vientiane on 9-11 December 1995 (Dymond 
1995). Historically, the species occurred in 
Xiangkhouang in flocks of up to 40; Ban Latsen was 
one of several particularly good places for the bird 
(Delacour and Jabouille 1927, David-Beaulieu 1944). 
It seems unlikely that such numbers now occur in the 
province. It also seems to have been rather commoner 
elsewhere in Laos than it is now, e.g. it visited 
Savannakhet Province annually in flocks of up to 20- 
30, although it was regular in only one site (Robinson 
and Kloss 1931, David-Beaulieu 1949-1950, Evans and 
Timmins 1998). 

Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla 

Upper Lao Mekong: one at Ban Namgniou on 9 April 

2000. Xaisomboun: One on 15 November 1999 at 
about 1,200 m. Xiangkhouang: One at Ban Latsen on 
27 November 1999. 

All records were in patchy coarse scrub. The only 
other recent records of this species in Laos appear to be 
singles in Vientiane on 22 November 1992 (Thewlis et 
al. 1996, R. J. Wilkinson in litt. 2000) and 2-3 km outside 
Salavan on 23 February 1999 (A. J. Stones in litt. 2000). 
David-Beaulieu (1944) described it as a very common 
winter visitor to cleared areas, but there are few other 
historical records (Delacour and Jabouille 1927, David- 
Beaulieu 1949-1 950). There are too few recent 
observations in suitable habitat to tell whether David- 
Beaulieu’s description remains apt. 

Common Hoopoe Upupa epops 

Vientiane: one near Ban Thadua on 25 March 1999. 

This species was a very common resident throughout 
Xiangkhouang (David-Beaulieu 1944) and was 
common in the Upper Mekong (Delacour and 
Greenway 1940b), but we saw none in either area. It 
was recorded widely, often as common, elsewhere across 
Laos historically (Delacour 1929, Bangs and van Tyne 
1931, Engelbach 1932, David-Beaulieu 1949-1950). It 
is now very scarce across most of the country. Occasional 
birds have been recorded widely in the South, but the 
species has been assessed as frequent or common only 
in the lowlands of Dong Hua Sao NBCA in summer 
1993, the deciduous dipterocarp forest of the Xe Kong 


plains of Xe Pian NBCA in spring 1993, the deciduous 
dipterocarp forest of the lowlands of Xe Bang-Nouan 
NBCA in summer 1994, the Bolaven pinewoods in 
spring 1995, the rocky savanna of Phou XiangThong 
NBCA in spring 1996, and the deciduous dipterocarp 
forest of Dong Khanthung proposed NBCA in spring 
and July 1998. These are all extensive open forest- 
grassland mixes (Thewlis et al. 1996, Evans andTimmins 
1998, Duckworth et al. 1998, Cunningham 1998, Round 
1998, Evans et al. 2000a, Evans 2001, Davidson in prep., 
W. G. Robichaud and R. J. Tizard in litt. 2000, PDR 
unpublished data). 

There are very few recent records from North or 
(except Xe Bang-Nouan NBCA) Central Laos. For 
example, there are no sightings on the Nakai Plateau, 
around Phou Khaokhoay NBCA or in Sangthong 
(Duckworth 1996, Evans and Timmins 1998, 
Duckworth et al. 1998, J. W. K. Parr in litt. 2000), despite 
substantial time spent in open degraded habitats such 
as support the species in Thailand. Only at one site in 
the North has the species recently been found to be 
frequent: in open mixed deciduous forest, admixed with 
some pine, at 1,000-1,200 m in Nam Et and Phou 
Louey NBCAs, counts of up to at least four were 
recorded on nine dates between 22 March and 9 May, 
with birds sometimes in song (Davidson in prep., PD 
unpublished data).There are three other recent records 
from the North: at two localities in Phongsali Province, 
single birds on 23-28 March 1996 (W. G. Robichaud 
in litt. 2000); and two near Louang-Namtha on 10 
February 1997, in very degraded roadside deciduous 
regrowth at 1,050 m (PD unpublished data).The only 
evidence that the resident population referred to by 
David-Beaulieu is not extinct across North Laos comes 
thus from Nam Et and Phou Louey, with other recent 
records plausibly referring to migrants. Clearly, all 
observations of Common Hoopoes from North Laos 
should be documented, and the breeding population 
may well merit being considered At Risk in Laos. 

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis 
At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: One at Ban Donkhao on 7 April 
2000 . 

This species was common in the upper Mekong 
(Delacour and Greenway 1940b) and reportedly still 
occurred in the 1990s, at least around Chiang Saen 
(Heath 1996, C. M. Poole verbally 1999). Although it 
is odd that the species was not mentioned from the 
Upper Lao Mekong by Bangs and van Tyne (1931), 
there is no doubt that Pied Kingfisher underwent one 
of the steepest historical declines of any Lao bird 
(Thewlis et al. 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999 and 
references therein). 

Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: A group of two and a single on 7 
April 2000, in mosaic habitat upstream of Ban 
Muangmom (provisionally identified). In late April 
2000,1-2 at 18°02’30”N 101°46’24”E near Pakchom 
sandbar, and at 18°06’20”N 101°58’40”E. Middle Lao 
Mekong: Four bee-eater sp. at Chanuman in April 2000. 

This species occurs in small numbers in the breeding 
season at Sangthong (Duckworth 1996). The lack of 




Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


25 


records on the winter visit (and also in the winter trip 
of Delacour and Greenway 1940b) might reflect 
seasonal absence. The very few observations in April 
suggest that populations are not healthy in this part of 
Laos. The species was recorded breeding (8-10 active 
nest holes, adults feeding young) between Ban Phakam 
and Ban Phaoy (untraced; but within two hours’ boat 
journey, south of Ban Houayxai), on 21 May 1966 
(Dickinson 1966). The extensive suitable habitat of the 
Upper Lao Mekong would support much higher 
numbers than we observed, if bird densities in similar 
habitat in Cambodia (Poole et al. in prep.) can be used 
as a guide. 

Barn Owl Tyto alba 
Little Known in Laos 

Vientiane: One along the Mekong bank midway 
between the town centre and airport at dusk on 16 May 
2000. The bird was in a palm tree just off the balcony of 
an occupied house; after flying around calling, it headed 
out over the river. 

Given this bird’s behaviour, it is perhaps likely to 
have been an escaped cage-bird. These (collected from 
wild nests) provide most of the few recent Lao records 
(Duckworth et al. 1999). It is a conspicuous urban bird 
in e.g. Hanoi, Bangkok and Phnom Penh, but not in 
modern-day Laos (although it was historically so: David- 
Beaulieu 1944, 1949-1950). 

Ashy Wood Pigeon Columba pulchricollis\ 

Little Known in Laos 

Xiangkhouang: A freshly killed individual in Ban 
Phonsavan market on 12 February 1999 
(photographed). 

This is the first record for Laos. The species occurs 
in Thailand where it is a local and uncommon resident 
in forested mountains of the far north (Boonsong 
Lekagul and Round 1991). The first record for Vietnam 
was a single in August 1998 on Fan Si Pan mountain, 
Hoang Lien Nature Reserve (Tordoff 2002, this issue). 

Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica 
Xiangkhouang: At Ban Latsen, two and six on 9 and 
12 October 1999 respectively; and a pair on 18 April 
2000 . 

These are the first recent records of the species from 
North Laos. Subsequently, Brooks and Sorensen (2001) 
saw two caged individuals in Xam-Nua market, in mid- 
October 2000. All other birds in this market were 
plausibly of local origin and it seems likely that these 
were as well. By contrast, David-Beaulieu (1944) 
documented a huge autumn arrival to Xiangkhouang. 
While the species remains a common breeder in a 
restricted part of South Laos (Thewlis et al. 1996, 
Duckworth et al. 1998), it seems that the migrant 
population has decreased. Formerly in Xiangkhouang 
the species was abundant in August and September, 
occurring in flocks of up to 100, widely distributed in 
level areas, especially in the Plain of Jars. However, 
records at other seasons were said to be unusual (David- 
Beaulieu 1944), and as we made few observations in 
the two months, the magnitude of decline cannot be 
confirmed. The species is primarily a September/ 
October passage migrant through Hong Kong, but also 
occurs in winter and spring. It also appears to be scarcer 
now than in the 1930s (Carey et al. 2001). 


Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata 

Vientiane: Up to 12 (some singing) in open mimosa- 
dominated sandbar scrub near Ban Thadua, 28 
February-25 March 1999. Heard singing from bushes 
adjacent to Don Chuan on 24 November 1999. 

This species was first recorded for Laos on 17 
October 1998 (Vientiane; TDE in Duckworth et al. 
1999). A population descended from the introduced 
continentalThailand population is becoming established 
(Davidson in prep.), and clearly uses channel habitat. 

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon Treron sphenura 
Vientiane: A female in trees on the Mekong bank by 
Don Chuan (165 m) on 21 November 1998. 

Green pigeons are not commonly kept in cages in 
Laos, if at all, and although they are often traded alive 
such birds usually have their remiges pulled out. This 
individual (watched for over 30 minutes) was 
presumably a natural wanderer. In South-East Asia it is 
primarily a hill and montane species (Boonsong Lekagul 
and Round 1991, Robson 2000) and all other Lao 
records are from hill areas (Duckworth et al. 1998a, PD 
unpublished data). 

Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes 

Middle Lao Mekong: One, in mainly non-breeding 
plumage, on an island off Mukdahan on 26 April 2000. 

This is the first record for Laos, and probably the 
first record for inland South-East Asia, of a species which 
is a scarce to relatively common passage migrant on the 
region’s coast. The bird was observed closely for 30 
minutes, and the observer (PDR) is very familiar with 
the species from coastal Thailand. 

Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis 

Xiangkhouang: A juvenile at Ban Latsen on 9 October 

1999. 

The few records of this species from Laos come from 
the South and Centre (Evans et al. 2000a, Evans 2001), 
but it has been provisionally recorded in Vientiane 
(Duckworth et al. 1999). This record at 1,120 m, the 
first Lao record away from the Mekong, is at significantly 
higher altitude than the 450 m maximum in Robson 
( 2000 ). 

Dunlin Calidris alpina 

Upper Lao Mekong: One at Ban Namgniou on 30 
December 1999, and two at Ban Mai island (Vientiane) 
on 8 January 2000. Vientiane: At Don Chuan, one on 
7 November 1998, and five within a flock of 490 plovers 
(largely or entirely Kentish Plover) on 24 November 
1999. 

The first record for Laos was only in 1995 
(Duckworth et al. 1998a) and there have been relatively 
few since (Duckworth et al. 1999, Evans et al. 2000a). 
The species is mapped in Boonsong Lekagul and Round 
(1991) only for a short stretch of the Thai Mekong, in 
the far north of Thailand. However, these records 
suggest that it may be more common and widespread. 

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 
Vientiane: Two on Don Chuan on 22 October 1999. 
Middle Lao Mekong: Two on an island off Mukdahan 
on 26 April 2000. 



26 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


These are the first records from North and Central 
Laos respectively; the only previous record from Laos 
is from the South in 1996 (Evans et al. 2000a). 

Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus 
Vientiane: Three birds still largely in non-breeding 
plumage on 11 April 1999, 4 km upstream of the Lao- 
Thai bridge. Xiangkhouang: A first-winter bird at Ban 
Latsen on 12 October 1999. 

These are the first records from North Laos. The 
only previous Lao records come from the southern 
Mekong in spring 1996 (Evans et al. 2000a). Robson 
(2000) categorised the species as occurring in ‘lowlands’ 
in South-East Asia. The Latsen record, at about 1,120 
m, recalls the regular October passage of the species 
through the Kelabit uplands of Borneo (Smythies 1981). 

Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis 
Upper Lao Mekong: Single male and female at Ban 
Khonkeo on 6 April 2000, and 1-2 pair(s) at Ban 
Namgniou on 9 April 2000. 

All birds were in channel mosaic. The lack of records 
from the same areas of the Upper Lao Mekong in winter 
1999-2000 suggests that those in April had moved into 
the area, but whether from locally or as longer-distance 
migrants is unclear. Long-distance movement does take 
place in eastern Asia: in Hong Kong the species is 
primarily a passage migrant and winter visitor (Carey 
et al. 2001) .These are the first recent records from North 
Laos, the only other recent Lao records being from the 
northern zone of Xe Pian NBCA in South Laos 
(Thewlis et al. 1996). Historical records came from a 
wider area. The species was fairly common, though 
localised, in Indochina, including parts of Xiangkhouang 
(David-Beaulieu 1944), where we found no suitable 
habitat in 1999-2000. In Savannakhet Province, David- 
Beaulieu (1949-1950) suspected it was commoner than 
his few observations would suggest, while in South Laos 
Engelbach (1932) noted small numbers around Salavan, 
specifically at wader passage seasons. As a skulking 
species, it is difficult assess population trends, but it 
has clearly declined greatly in Hong Kong (Carey et al. 
2001), and may well have done so also in Laos. 

Great Thick-knee Esacus recurvirostris 
At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: Two groups of two, downstream 
of Paklay, after 25 and 35 minutes’ travel respectively, 
on 7 January 2000 (Table l).The birds were in a vast 
stretch of channel mosaic. One at Pakchom sandbar on 
21-22 April 2000, in similar habitat. Vientiane: Two 
loafing atop a rock in the Mekong off Ban Nasa on 26 
September 1999. River height was at about maximum. 
Middle Lao Mekong: Four off Hat Sung, Khemmaraj 
District, opposite the mouth of the Xe Bang-Nouan, 
on 26 April 2000; the same locality as recorded in 1997 
by Evans (2001). 

This species was formerly much more common in 
Laos (Thewlis et al. 1998 and references therein).The 
main Lao population is in the Mekong and Xe Kong of 
the far south, but it clearly persists patchily in the North. 
It may even be more widespread than these records 
indicate, because it is probably more easily overlooked 
from a boat than its size might suggest (based on 
observations in Cambodia: Poole et al. in prep.). The 
Hat Sung site was crowded with people at 16h00 


(picnickers and trippers as well as fishermen). People 
were drifting homeward and then about 17h30 three 
thick-knees flew across from the Lao side, landing on a 
sandbank on the Thai side, where they remained even 
though there were still people within 100 m or so. The 
rough broken country adjacent to sandbars could enable 
them to hide. Certainly, persistence in the face of 
incidental disturbance will be essential in allowing the 
birds to survive in the Lao-Thai Mekong. Even if active 
persecution can be reduced, incidental disturbance will 
surely be very high, well into the foreseeable future. 

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 

Vientiane: Two (unaged) on Don Chuan on 7 
November 1998. 

This is the only Lao record; the species is mainly 
coastal in South-East Asia (Robson 2000). 

Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii 
Vientiane: One in winter plumage, opposite Nong 
Khai, on 24 March 1999. Eight unidentified sand 
plovers nearby on 11 April 1999. Middle Lao Mekong: 
Two unidentified sand plovers seen in flight off 
Mukdahan on 26 April 2000. 

The few previous records of sand plovers in Laos 
are detailed in Thewlis et al. (1996). Additionally, W.W. 
Thomas (in litt. 1999) found Lesser Sand Plover C. 
mongolus to be a scarce spring migrant throughVientiane 
in the early 1960s. This is the first record of Greater for 
North Laos. 

River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii 
At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: A total of c. 130 was seen in winter 
(88 in the northern stretch) and 81 in the northern 
stretch in April (Table 1). Although occurring right from 
the far north downstream almost to Vientiane, birds were 
not regularly spaced. In certain stretches, groups (usually 
of two) were seen every few minutes of travel, while 
other stretches were devoid of records for hours. In the 
northern stretch, the winter distribution pattern was 
replicated in April, suggesting that even in late December 
birds were largely spaced out according to breeding 
distribution. Most were in channel mosaic, where they 
loafed and fed on the sandy parts. Numbers were lower 
in other habitat types. Counts at both seasons were 
probably major underestimates of birds actually present, 
because much available habitat could not be scanned 
(through being too distant, the boat being far too fast, 
or likely perching areas simply being out of view). The 
correspondence in numbers during both seasons is 
probably due to the same channel being taken each time, 
so that areas difficult to check, or not covered, in the 
first trip were also not well covered on the second.This 
consistency certainly does not indicate that the counts 
were comprehensive. Using slower boats along the 
Mekong tributaries in the breeding season, counts can 
be almost 100% accurate (Duckworth et al. 1998b).The 
Mekong is much wider, in most of its stretches, than 
the tributaries. Vientiane: Eight atop a rock in the 
Mekong off Ban Nasa on 26 September 1999. River 
height was at about maximum. The birds spent at least 
an hour of the afternoon just loafing on the rock amid 
the swirling current. One near there in late April 2000. 
Middle Lao Mekong: 1-2 opposite the mouth of the 
Xe Bang-Nouan in late April 2000. 




Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


27 


In the NamTheun catchment (Central Laos) River 
Lapwing numbers are reduced by human pressure 
(Duckworth et al. 1998b). Much of the Upper Lao 
Mekong supports high heavy boat traffic and many 
villages, so it was surprising to find this species in such 
numbers. Possible reasons include: habituation to the 
harmless, although noisy, speedboats and transport 
barges; and the width of the channel, especially in mosaic 
areas, which means that there probably is, at any given 
moment, somewhere of limited disturbance for birds to 
feed. It is nonetheless likely that the population is below 
the carrying capacity. Discounting the 66-75% of the 
Mekong travelled which contained few suitable channel 
features for the species, about 230-350 km of prime 
habitat were traversed. Densities of 0.5-4 birds per linear 
km have been recorded in narrower rivers in suitable 
habitat of Indochina (Duckworth etal. 1998b,Timmins 
and Men Soriyun 1998). On this basis, 115-1,400 birds 
would have been expected in the surveyed stretch, 
probably to be multiplied by some factor to reflect the 
braiding and generally two-dimensional nature of the 
mainstream Mekong compared with its tributaries. 
Actual figures were at the lower end of this (very 
conservative) range; the unknown proportion 
overlooked prevents more precise comment. 

The midwinter Upper Lao Mekong survey fell before 
the start of breeding activity, although most birds had 
clearly paired and few flocks were seen. By April, 
territorial aggression and defence was frequently 
observed and birds were clearly breeding in most if not 
all areas in which they were observed, including such 
heavily disturbed areas as Ban Khonkeo and Ban 
Namgniou. It should not necessarily be assumed that 
the observed birds can breed successfully enough to be 
a self-sustaining population. 

Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: Totals of 56 and 16 in winter and 
April respectively (Table 1). Five at Chiang Khan island 
on 20 April 2000. Vientiane: two on Don Chuan on 7 
February 1998. 

These results suggest that the Upper Lao Mekong 
should be added to the important wintering area listed 
in Duckworth et al. (1999). Birds seemed faithful to 
certain stretches, rather than roaming up and down the 
river, although there is clearly some mobility: e.g. a sandy 
spit at Ban Namgnon-Kao held on successive visits, 24, 
c.25, 9 and 16 birds on 27, 28, 30 December and 2 
January respectively. Birds used all sorts of channel 
habitat, although there were few in channel mosaic 
stretches, and many birds were on earth rather than 
sand. Probably a rather lower proportion was recorded 
than for River Lapwing, as birds were often perched in 
or close to salad gardens or natural ephemeral growth, 
and they blended in better with the brown earth. 

Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus 
Xiangkhouang: 2-3 birds at Ban Latsen on 27 
November 1999; two defended territories on 18 April 
2000 . 

The status of this species in North Laos is of great 
concern. The only other recent records are of a single 
in Nam Ngum reservoir on 6 December 1998 (JWD 
unpublished data) and occasional sightings, perhaps 
breeding, around Ban Nakhay, Phou Khaokhoay 


NBCA, in 1997-1999 (J. W. K. Parr verbally 1999). Yet 
David-Beaulieu (1944) described the species in 
Xiangkhouang as a very common breeding resident 
throughout the province, at all altitudes: a description 
totally inapplicable today. In the upper Mekong 60 years 
ago, Delacour and Greenway (1940b) had found the 
species generally common, notably so around Ban 
Houayxai. It was also recorded in the far north, around 
Ban Muangyo (Bangs and van Tyne 1931). As a large, 
conspicuous ground nester favouring habitat suitable 
for agriculture, it would not be surprising if this species 
was extirpated from large parts of North Laos. It remains 
common in the South and, locally, the Centre (Thewlis 
et al. 1996, Duckworth et al. 1998, Evans and Timmins 

1998, Evans et al. 2000a), as it was historically (Delacour 
1929, Robinson and Kloss 1931, Engelbach 1932, 
David-Beaulieu 1949-1950). Nonetheless the possibility 
that trends in the North might be repeated in the South 
and Centre indicates that the species would merit 
treatment as Potentially At Risk in Laos. 

Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum 
Vientiane: At least 500 resting at Don Chuan on 24 
October 1998, and one there on 7 November 1998. 

This species seems to be a rare passage migrant 
through Laos (Duckworth et al. 1998a, 1999) and these 
numbers are unprecedented. There was no sign of any 
at this site in October 1999. 

Small Pratincole Glareola lactea 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: In winter, c. 1,270 between Ban 
Muangmom and Ban Paktha, 34 just upstream of 
Louangphabang, c. 115 between Paklay and Don Chan 
and 94 at Ban Mai island (Vientiane); small numbers 
elsewhere. In April c.940 between Ban Muangmom and 
Ban Paktha, and two near Louangphabang (Table 1). 
In late April 2000, over 50 and over 30 near Chiang 
Khan island and Pakchom sandbar respectively 
(stretches 12 and 13 ofTable 1). Vientiane: Three near 
Ban Houayhom on 29 March 1998. Two at Ban 
Thanasanghin on 15 November 1998, and at least 10 
upstream of there in late April 2000. Up to 200 around 
Ban Thadua in February-April 1999 (including 
juveniles on 3 April), with at least eight there on 21 
November 1999. Five at Don Chuan on 24 November 
1999 and 50-60 there on 7 November 1998, 2 January 

1999, 8 May 1999 and 14 December 1999; numerous 
(uncounted) on 2 December 1998; 30 in late April 2000. 
Middle Lao Mekong: at least four on a sandbar at 
Pakxan on 26 December 1998. In late April 2000, 
present sparsely downstream from Vientiane to Bung 
Khla; about 50 off Nakhon Phanom, including fledged 
juveniles; at least four between Nakhon Phanom and 
That Phanom; small numbers downstream to BanWaan 
Noi; at least 20 at BanWaan Noi itself; and over 200 off 
Mukdahan. 

The numbers in Bokeo exceed those recently 
confirmed anywhere else in Laos, although it seems 
likely that counts along the southern Lao Mekong in 
1996 (Evans et al. 2000a) only represented a proportion 
of the total population there. It is noteworthy that 
Oustalet (1898) also signalled that the species was 
especially common in the North, although Delacour and 
Greenway (1940b) recorded surprisingly few. Along the 
Mekong covered in 1999-2000, the recorded 



28 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


distribution was patchy without obvious reason. This 
may reflect nothing more than the difficulties of 
observing the birds. These difficulties also mean that 
counts for many or all stretches are likely to be major 
underestimates. The birds spent long periods loafing in 
flocks on the top of large open sandy islands. Many such 
islands were so high above the water that their tops were 
not visible from the boat.This was especially so in April, 
with the lower water level, and it should not be 
concluded that numbers had decreased between winter 
and April. Furthermore, birds were unconcerned by 
even close passage of speedboats and did not flush. It 
can thus be quite easy to miss a flock. As examples, the 
Chiang Saen area was passed twice in December; on 
the first occasion, no pratincoles were seen; on the 
second, 840 were counted. None was seen from the boat 
on two trips past Ban Namgniou in December, but a 
visit on foot found over 50. As well as the large open 
sandbar habitat typical of the species in South and 
Central Laos, birds were common (but in small groups) 
around the rocky parts within channel mosaic habitat, 
even including mosaic stretches with very little sand. 
Oustalet (1898) had already referred to the species’s 
abundance in areas of rocks. The species persists well 
on river stretches running through urban North Laos 
(e.g. Vientiane city, and a flock of 230 in central Ban 
Houayxai on 27 December 1999) as it does around 
Savannakhet city (Evans 2001). It seems to be much 
less sensitive to disturbance and/or harvesting than are 
the larger sandbar waders. Birds were absent from 
Vientiane during the high-flow season: in 1999, none 
was recorded during either October visit, but numbers 
built up from late November to December. In 1998, 
water levels dropped earlier and birds were present in 
numbers by early November. Where the birds go when 
water levels are high is unclear. 

On 24 November 1999, on Don Chuan, two birds 
were caught by hand. Initially assumed to be performing 
a distraction display, they allowed close approach and 
moved only clumsily away from a grasping hand. On 
release, each glided down to the sand and crash-landed. 
Possibly these birds were chemically poisoned. As no 
people were out on the island collecting the birds, 
poisoning is perhaps more likely to have been accidental 
than deliberate, and the scale of the problem is unclear. 

Herring-type gull Larus aff. L. argentatus 
Upper Lao Mekong: A bird in first-winter plumage 
off Chiang Saen on 28 and 30 December 1999. The 
bird (presumably the same) was also seen on 22 January 
2000. A second-winter on Ban Mai island (Vientiane) 
on 8 January 2000 (Table 1). 

These are the first records of this complex of gulls 
for Laos. Firm identification is not yet possible. The 
upperparts of the second were similar in darkness to 
those of suspected Heuglin’s Gulls L. heuglini seen at 
Xuan Thuy, Red River Delta, Vietnam (JWD 
unpublished data). Extraordinarily, a landscape 
photograph in the airline magazine Visiting Muong Lao , 
March-April 2000 (p. 43) shows a second-year herring- 
type gull atop a post in the Nam Ngum reservoir. This 
was photographed in mid-February 2000 (Hongheun 
Khounphithack verbally 2000), and when identification 
criteria have been clarified may well be identifiable to 
form. 


Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus- 

Upper Lao Mekong: Nine on 7 April 2000 upstream 
of Chiang Saen. Vientiane: Four adults, 4 km upstream 
of the Lao-Thai bridge on 11 April 1999. All were in 
breeding plumage. 

There is one further recent record from North Laos, 
a single loafing around the Mekong at Louangphabang 
on 1-2 April 1996 (R. J. Tizard in litt. 2000), but other 
recent records come only from the far south (e.g.Thewlis 
et al. 1996). However, observations around Chiang Saen 
suggest that the species is probably occurs annually, 
although it is very scarce (PDR unpublished data). 
Previous published Lao records came from the early 
dry season and winter (Engelbach 1932, David-Beaulieu 
1949-1950), as does a previously unpublished record 
of one near Vientiane on 4 November 1962 (W. W. 
Thomas in litt. 1999).There seems also to be a passage 
movement in April. 

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 

Vientiane: One in first-winter plumage by Don Chuan 

on 7 November 1998. 

The only previous published Lao record, an adult, 
was seen from Chiang Saen in November 1988 (C. M. 
Poole verbally to Duckworth et al. 1999). There is also 
a record from nearby Chiang Saen Lake (= Nong Bong 
Khai), Thailand, on 7 December 1985 (PDR 
unpublished data). The lack of records on the Upper 
Lao Mekong in 1999-2000 suggests that it is very scarce 
in Laos in winter, if present at all. 

River Tern Sterna aurantia 
At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: An adult in breeding plumage 
on Ban Mai island (Vientiane), 8 January 2000 (Table 
1 ). 

Several species of tern used to breed commonly along 
the Lao Mekong, but are now on the brink of national 
extinction. All historical trips along the Mekong 
upstream of Vientiane recorded River Tern: it seems to 
have been common (Bangs and van Tyne 1931, 
Robinson and Kloss 1931, Delacour and Greenway 
1940b).The two other recent records from North Laos 
are of 1-2 birds (Thewlis et al. 1998). A previously 
unpublished record is of one in May 1966, probably 
downstream of Ban Houayxai (E. C. Dickinson in litt. 
2000 ). 

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus 
Vientiane: One upstream of the Lao-Thai bridge on 
25 March 1999. Middle Lao Mekong: 20 atTha Uthen, 
24 April 2000. All were in breeding plumage. 

These are the first recent records from North and 
Central Laos respectively; other recent records are from 
the South (R. J. Tizard and J. W. K. Parr in Duckworth 
et al. 1999). All these recent records are from migration 
seasons. The only historical records are two birds in 
Savannakhet Province (undated) and several around 
Ban Houayxai in December 1938-January 1939 
(Delacour and Greenway 1940b, David-Beaulieu 1949- 
1950). 

Black Kite Milvus migrans 
At Risk in Laos 

Vientiane: Singles over the Mekong, 7 November 1998 
and 15 January 1999. Xiangkhouang: Singles at Ban 




Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


29 


Latsen on 14 February, 9 October and 27 November 

1999, probably of the (sub)species M. (m.) lineatus. 
M.( m .) lineatus was formerly a common winter 

visitor to Laos, including the Plain of Jars (David- 
Beauheu 1944), but these (with one additional in 
Davidson in prep.) are the only recent midwinter 
records. The few other recent records come from 
migration seasons (Thewlis et al. 1998, Duckworth et 
al. 1999). 

Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus 
At Risk in Laos 

Middle Lao Mekong: One immature at Ban Na Pho, 
and 1-2 adults at Khong Chiam in April 2000. 

The bird at Ban Na Pho is the first recent record 
from Central Laos, although formerly the bird was 
abundant there (Thewlis et al. 1998 and references 
therein). 

Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus 
Xiangkhouang: One near Ban Phonsavan Airport at 
09h45 on 30 November 1999 circled higher until lost 
to view. 

The three previous Lao records are from southern 
Champasak Province in February 1993 (Thewlis et al. 
1996), Phou Khaokhoay NBCA in November 1994 
(Duckworth et al. 1998) and Dong Khanthung PNBCA 
in February 1998 (Round 1998). Both northern records 
are in November, the migration season; and both 
southern records in February, perhaps suggesting small 
numbers wintering. 

Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis 

Xiangkhouang: One perched and 105 migrating north 
(in several flocks) between 08h30 and 09h00 on 20 April 

2000, around pinewoods. 

This is the first observation of large numbers in Laos 
(cf. Duckworth et al. 1998a); the timing accords perfectly 
with spring passage through Hong Kong (over 98% of 
birds in second-fourth weeks of April: Carey etal. 2001). 

Eagle sp. Aquila 

Xiangkhouang: A single over Ban Phonsavan 
pinewoods on 1 1 October 1999. 

Several species of Aquila occur in Laos. Imperial 
Eagle A. heliaca was formerly a common winter visitor 
to Xiangkhouang (David-Beaulieu 1944). It seems 
unlikely that this is the case today. 

Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo 

Xiangkhouang: A single hunting at Ban Latsen on 9 
October 1999. 

The few Lao records of this species all have fallen in 
October (David-Beaulieu 1944, Thewlis et al. 1996); 
this is also the peak for records in Hong Kong (Carey et 
al. 2001). 

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 
At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: Two (an adult and a white-bellied 
immature) between Chiang Saen and Ban Muangmom 
on 30 December 1999, after a single in this stretch on 
28 December. An adult just upstream of 
Louangphabang on 4-5 January 2000 (Table 1). 

These are the first recent records for Laos; what was 
presumably one of these birds was also seen on 13 


February 2000 (PDR unpublished data). There have 
only been two other recent records in northern Thailand, 
both of singles from Chiang Saen Lake (= Nong Bong 
Khai): on 15 February 1996 and 1 January 1997 (PDR 
unpublished data). Historically, Delacour and Greenway 
(1940b) described the species as common along the 
Upper Lao Mekong, and Bingham and Thompson 
(1901) in their statement that ‘both [this species and 
Little Cormorant P. niger are common in the States in 
suitable localities’ imply that these birds were on the 
Mekong. Both cormorants have evidently declined 
through hunting pressure, as have other large waterbirds 
in Laos. Little Cormorant may have become locally 
extinct, as it has not been recorded from North Laos 
since Oustalet (1898) and, potentially, Bingham and 
Thompson (1901). Both the recent sites are close to 
large towns where it would be difficult to kill large birds 
discreetly. Birds were confiding: the group of two were 
approached within 60 m, while the bird in 
Louangphabang did not fly from its water-level rock 
even when approached to within 12 m. The boatman 
here reported that this sort of bird arrived in October- 
November, and that numbers declined during the 
following months. He did not offer a reason for this 
change, but it seems likely to reflect killing rather than 
onward migration. These birds are probably from the 
same population as winters in Hong Kong, which is 
large and increasing (Carey et al. 2001).Thus, continued 
occurrence of this species in Laos seems possible, even 
in the absence of effective in-country protective 
measures. 

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: In winter, 17 between Ban 
Xiangkhok and Ban Khonkeo, a single upstream of Pak 
Ou, three between Paklay and Ban Vang, and three 
between Paksang and Vientiane; only three in total in 
April (Table 1). One at Chiang Khan island on 20 April 
2000. Vientiane: Two near Ban Thadua on 11 April 
1999 and a single on Don Chuan, on 14 December 
1999. Middle Lao Mekong: 11 flying over the river at 
Ban Phaeng on 24 April 2000. Singles in flight off 
Mukdahan and over Hat Sung, near Khemmaraj on 26 
April 2000. Xiangkhouang: Two and a subadult at Ban 
Latsen on 9 and 12 October 1999 respectively. 

Along the Upper Lao Mekong, most birds were seen 
loafing in small groups on massive sandbars with good 
all-round visibility. This is largely responsible for their 
clumped distribution. A few apparently foraging 
individuals were seen. Elsewhere in Laos, birds have 
been recorded coming in to floodplain marshes at dusk 
(Thewlis et al. 1998, Evans 2001). It is likely they spend 
the day in the comparative safety of large sandbars and 
only brave the floodplain, where they are much more 
likely to be slaughtered, to feed at night. Delacour and 
Greenway’s (1940b) description of Grey Heron as 
common the length of the Mekong can hardly be applied 
today, and moreover these Mekong numbers are tiny 
compared with those on the Red River in Hanoi 
(Vietnam) and upstream. On the latter, which is of 
comparable size and with extensive sandbar habitat, 
Grey Herons occur in flocks of several hundred (e.g. at 
least 340 on 1 1 January 1998, and 395 on 31 October 
1999, JWD unpublished data). 



30 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Purple Heron Ardea purpurea 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Xiangkhouang: A subadult at Ban Latsen on 9 and 12 
October 1999. 

The wide river habitat of the Upper Lao Mekong is 
evidently unsuitable for this species; it was neither 
recorded in this stretch in 1938-1939 (Delacour and 
Greenway 1940b) nor in 1999-2000. Small numbers 
have been recorded widely across Laos in pools and 
marshes in recent years; it may breed in the South 
(Round 1998, Thewlis et al. 1998, Duckworth et al. 
1999). 

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Xiangkhouang: Two flew low over Ban Latsen, calling, 
shortly after dusk on 9 October 1999. 

This species was formerly common at Latsen 
between September and December (David-Beaulieu 
1944). Its scarcity in Laos (Duckworth et al. 1999 and 
references therein) contrasts with its status in Thailand 
where it is a common resident and winter visitor 
(Boonsong Lekagul and Round 1991). 

Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris-f 
At Risk in Laos 

Xiangkhouang: One in Ban Latsen market on 12 
February 1999 had reportedly been shot nearby that 
day. 

There are only two previous records of Great Bittern 
from Laos (Thewlis et al. 1996); the first was also from 
Ban Latsen, on 2 February 1940 (David-Beaulieu 1944). 

Black Stork Ciconia nigra 
At Risk in Laos 

Xiangkhouang: A subadult flying high to the north 
paused on an earth bank at Ban Latsen for 20 minutes 
on 27 November 1999, then continued on its way. 

Recently Lao records come only from the Nakai 
Plateau (Evans and Timmins 1998, Duckworth et al. 
1998a) and Chiang Saen (PDR in Duckworth et al. 
1999). Formerly it was an infrequent winter visitor to 
the Plain of Jars (David-Beaulieu 1944) and, probably 
much more commonly, to the Upper Lao Mekong 
(Delacour and Greenway 1940b). These birds are 
presumably from the same population as those visiting 
Hong Kong, where a decline is also evident (Carey et 
al. 2001). 

Ratchet-tailed Treepie Temnurus temnurus 
Xaisomboun: A group of at least three on 15 November 
1999, in scrubby secondary trees amid grassland on 
highly degraded hills at about 1,200 m. 

All other Lao records have been from evergreen 
forest or adjacent lightly degraded derivatives (Thewlis 
et al. 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999, PD unpublished 
data); there was no such habitat anywhere nearby.This 
is the most westerly Lao record to date. 

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 

Upper Lao Mekong: In winter, two groups of two: c.20 
km downstream of Ban Xiangkhok and at Paklay. In 
April, four well-spaced singles, in remote stretches of 
river. Vientiane: one near BanThadua on 13 February 
1999. Middle Lao Mekong: Two and one at Pakxan 
on 26 December 1998 and 16 April 2000 respectively. 


This low total of records indicates the current scarcity 
of this species across North Laos. The sighting at Ban 
Thadua is the only recent record from the Vientiane 
urban area (Sangthong, where recorded by Duckworth 
[1996], although in Vientiane Municipality, is not 
urban).The only other recent records from North Laos 
traced by us, including the extensive survey effort across 
northern NBCAs documented in Davidson (in prep.), 
are as follows: common around the rugged terrain of 
Phou Dendin NBCA (Duckworth et al. 1998a); present 
in Phou Khaokhoay NBCA in 1994 (Duckworth et al. 
1998a), but clearly rare there as not recorded at all in 
several years by J. W. K. Parr {in litt. 2000); groups of 
two at Nam Ngum Reservoir on 15 November 1992 
and 6 December 1998 (JWD unpublished data); and 
one on 8 March 1997 on the Louang-Namtha plain 
(assessment as ‘common’ here by Tizard et al. [1997] 
was an error: R. J. Tizard in litt. 2000). This crow has 
clearly undergone a massive decline in Laos. Formerly 
it was common throughout Xiangkhouang province 
(Delacour and Greenway 1927, David-Beaulieu 1944), 
numerous in the Upper Lao Mekong valley, especially 
near villages (Delacour and Greenway 1940b), and was 
also recorded in North Laos by Bangs and van Tyne 
(1931) and Robinson and Kloss (1931). In the South 
and Centre it was extremely common, specifically noted 
as common and bold in towns (Delacour 1929, 
Engelbach 1932, David-Beaulieu 1949-1950). It is now 
reduced to very low densities across much of Laos, with 
the best numbers remaining in remote areas around 
large Mekong tributaries, notably in two areas 
supporting various other large quarry species of open 
country: Champasak-Attapu Provinces and the Nam 
Theun basin (Thewlis et al. 1996, Evans and Timmins 

1998, Duckworth et al. 1998, Evans et al. 2000a, PD 
unpublished data). Clearly, all observations of crows 
from North Laos should be documented, and the species 
may well merit being considered At Risk in Laos. 

Yellow-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hypoxantha 
Xiangkhouang: Common (2-8 daily) on Phou Gnouan 
in the highest forest in October and November 1999, 
and a single there on 19 April 2000. 

There are only three previous known sites for this 
species in Laos, two of which are in Xiangkhouang 
Province (David-Beaulieu 1944, Duckworth et al. 1999). 
Phou Gnouan, which goes only to 1,825 m, is rather 
lower than the proposed lower limit for breeding of the 
species of 2,000 m in Duckworth et al. (1999); maybe it 
is a non-breeding visitor to this mountain. 

Black-breasted Thrush Turdus dissiniilis 
Little Known in Laos 

Xiangkhouang: A freshly killed male in Ban Phonsavan 
market on 14 February 1999; and a hunter in the Phou 
Gnouan forest carried a shot male on 28 November 

1999. 

This species has been recorded in Laos a few times 
(Thewlis et al. 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999), but is 
probably a regular visitor to hill forest in the North. 

Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul f 
Little Known in Laos 

Xiangkhouang: A freshly killed male in Ban Phonsavan 
market on 14 February 1999. 




Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


31 


This is the only recent record of the species from 
Laos; previous records come only from Xiangkhouang 
province (no specific localities, but indicated as rare: 
David-Beaulieu 1944) and Lo-Tiao (Delacour and 
Greenway 1940b). 

Purple Cochoa Cochoa purpurea f 
Little Known in Laos 

Xiangkhouang: Three males and six females freshly 
killed in Ban Phonsavan market on 12 February 1999 
(photographed). 

This is the first record for Laos. A provisional field 
record from Nam Theun Extension Proposed NBCA 
in 1994 was withdrawn (Thewlis et al. 1998). 

Jerdon’s Bushchat Saxicola jerdoni 
Upper Lao Mekong: Commonly seen downstream of 
Paklay in winter and in the Ban Muangmom-Ban 
Xiangkhok stretch in April, with smaller numbers in 
other stretches boated in April.There was only one boat- 
based sighting in winter upstream of Louangphabang, 
and that from close to the southern extremity (Table 
1). However, ground-based observations found the 
species in all suitable channel bushland checked in the 
far north in winter, and showed it to be abundant in 
April. In winter, there were four single males, one in 
bushland and three in tall grass growing beside the 
channel at Ban Namgniou on 30 December 1999; two 
single males and two unsexed (heard calling in response 
to a male in view) at Ban Khonkeo on 1 January 2000; 
and a male at Ban Namgnon-Kao on 2 January 2000. 
In April, there were seven males (some singing) at Ban 
Khonkeo on 6 April; and at least 24 males at Ban 
Namgniou on 9 April, with up to five males and one 
female visible per scan. Additionally, four males were 
seen between Louangphabang and Pak Ou on 29 
January 1999, and about 10 pairs (at least some with 
fledged young) were watched in Homonoia scrub around 
Pakchom sandbar (stretch 13 ofTable 1), on 21-22 April 
2000. Vientiane: A male in Homonoia riparia at Ban 
Thanasanghin on 15 November 1998. Xaisomboun: 
A male in a dry scrubby gully just north of the town on 
13 November 1999. Xiangkhouang: a male in fallow 
hai on Phou Gnouan (c. 1,700 m) on 19 April 2000. 

Along the Upper Lao Mekong the species is clearly 
abundant, particularly in channel mosaic habitat. In 
winter, although obvious from the boat downstream of 
Paklay, where birds were perching prominently at all 
times of day, in the Bokeo stretch none was seen from 
the boat. Land-based observations indicated that at this 
season the species was not singing and not perching 
prominently. In April, birds were much more 
conspicuous in this northern region, as they were singing 
and perching prominently, frequently. Distribution was 
patchy, as assessed from the boat. Birds were clearly in 
good numbers around Ban Houayxai and up past Ban 
Namgniou; in parts of the stretch between Ban 
Muangmom and Ban Xiangkhok; and between 
Louangphabang and Pak Ou. However, birds were 
scarce or absent around Chiang Saen and in much of 
the length between Ban Houayxai and Pak Ou, notably 
in a long stretch centred on Muang Pakbeng. Only areas 
with a wide stand of rocky bushland (i.e. not merely a 
narrow bank-side band) seemed to support high 
numbers. The majority of birds were overlooked from 


the boat: e.g. while passing the known dense population 
of Sangthong (Duckworth 1997) only two individuals 
were seen. Assuming similar proportions of birds present 
to birds observed throughout the length of river 
surveyed, the populations in the Paklay-Sangthong 
stretch and in some parts of the far north are clearly 
very large. As most search effort from the boat in winter 
was devoted to large birds, with effort specifically for 
Jerdon’s Bushchat restricted to spot-checking suitable 
habitat every hour or so, to check for presence in that 
stretch, the absolute numbers in Table 1 mean little. In 
April, with confirmation that birds were perching 
prominently and were visible from the boat, more effort 
was made to establish the species’s distribution. While 
there may well be odd birds throughout the length of 
river boated, it is likely that the broad pattern shown 
for April in Table 1 is true (for example, Common 
Stonechats behaving in a similar fashion were picked 
up in areas devoid of Jerdon’s Bushchats). 

Downstream of the Sangthong area lies a break in 
truly suitable habitat at least until Vientiane. Although 
patches of bushland occur to within 30 km ofVientiane, 
no Jerdon’s Bushchats were seen from the boat 
downstream of Sangthong. The record from Ban 
Thanasanghin is the furthest downstream yet in Laos, 
but comes from well before the breeding season. Thus, 
the downstream extent of breeding is unclear. Recent 
extensive observation in Mekong channel mosaic in 
northern Cambodia did not find the species (Davidson 
et al. 2001). The habitat use of this species in Laos is 
perplexing, with birds breeding at high densities in 
primary river-channel scrub of the Mekong, and also 
nesting in mid- and high-altitude secondary scrub and 
grass in the northern highlands (Duckworth 1997). Its 
use of the latter habitat suggests that it is not at risk in 
Laos (Duckworth et al. 1999), and although it was 
formerly considered globally Near Threatened (Collar 
et al. 1994) it was dropped from this list by BirdLife 
International (2000). 

Purple-backed Starling Sturnus sturninus 

Xiangkhouang: At Ban Latsen, at least two on 9 and 
12 October 1999 in a large flock of mixed starlings, 
mainly Chestnut-tailed. 

Previous records of Purple-backed Starling in Laos 
were of a flock in Xiangkhouang town in September 
1939 (David-Beaulieu 1944), and of a small flock at 
Ban Mai (Xaignabouli Province; precise locality 
untraced) on 28 April 1936 (Deignan 1938). It probably 
occurs only on passage. 

Fire-capped Tit Cephalopyrus flammiceps 

Upper Lao Mekong: A single near Ban Namgnon-Kao 
on 27 December 1999. The bird was in the crown of a 
medium-sized acacia amid cultivation and coarse 
growth, a few hundred yards from the Mekong. 

The two previous Lao records are both from the 
Upper Lao Mekong: from Lo-Tiao (only a few 
kilometres away) and Chiang Saen (Delacour and 
Greenway 1940b, PDR in Duckworth et al. 1999). 
Although usually a bird of montane forest (Boonsong 
Lekagul and Round 1991, Robson 2000), both this 
record and that at Chiang Saen were in the valley 
bottom. 



32 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Great Tit Par us major 

Xiangkhouang: Common (many birds daily) in Ban 
Phonsavan pinewoods; a pair feeding well-grown 
fledglings in April 2000. 

The species is very local in Laos, particularly by 
comparison with northern Vietnam. The only other 
recent record from the North is from the same 
pinewoods in mid-July 1996 (RJT unpublished data). 
Historically, David-Beaulieu (1944) noted it as 
abundant in these same pinewoods, while Deiacour and 
Jabouille (1927) had noted it as common around 
habitations in the province. It was recorded in the far 
north by Bangs and van Tyne (1931). It occurs locally 
in deciduous dipterocarp forest in South and Central 
Laos: Xe Bang-Nouan and Xe Pian NBCAs, Xe Kong 
and Savannakhet Provinces and Salavan (Engelbach 
1932, David-Beaulieu 1949-1950,Thewlis et al. 1996, 
Evans and Timmins 1998, Duckworth et al. 1998a, 
Showier et al. 1998a). Different subspecies occupy these 
two habitats, with P. m. templorum in the southern 
lowland deciduous dipterocarp forest, and P.m. nubicolus 
in northern pinewoods (Deiacour 1950). In areas of 
apparently suitable habitat in the centre (e.g. the Nakai 
Plateau pinewoods) the species appears to be absent 
(Evans andTimmins 1998, Duckworth et al. 1998a). 

Sand Martin Riparia riparia 

Vientiane: At BanThadua, two on 20 March 1999, at 
least three on 25 March, 60 or more on 3 April, and at 
least 10 on 11 April 1999. 

These numbers are strongly indicative of passage; 
none was found at this site during the several visits in 
February and the first two-thirds of March. By contrast, 
in winter it is abundant on the Mekong around Phnom 
Penh (Poole et al. in prep.). Other recent Lao records 
published as this species (e.g. Thewlis et al. 1996) in 
fact did not rule out Pale Martin R. diluta. These 1999 
individuals were identified confidently as R. riparia from 
prolonged, well-lit, close flight views, the observer aware 
of features to check as per Grimmett et al. (1998). 
Historical Lao records were reviewed in Duckworth et 
al. (1999). 

Plain Martin Riparia paludicola 
At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: Abundant in the far north: 300 
was probably a considerable underestimate of the 
number between Ban Xiangkhok and Ban Muangmom 
in December. Smaller numbers were scattered 
downstream to Sangthong. Fewer were seen in April, 
possibly merely reflecting viewing conditions (Table 1). 
In late April 2000, five were seen upstream of Pakchom 
sandbar (stretch 13 of Table 1). Vientiane: At least 60 
in an area of tall sand- and mud-banks around Ban 
Xayfong on 25 March 1999, with up to ten nearby in 
April. 

A healthy population remains in the Upper Lao 
Mekong, although the species has declined in South 
and Central Laos (Duckworth et al. 1999). Several 
potential breeding colonies were seen, e.g. at Ban 
Viangkham. In addition, sexual chasing and calling was 
occurring almost the length of the Mekong travelled, 
especially in winter. Records were patchily distributed 
along the channel. Numbers present at areas visited 
several times fluctuated, presumably reflecting varying 
feeding heights and local movement along the river. 


Numbers seemed to be higher in stretches with many 
rocky outcrops, a pattern shown by Wire-tailed Swallow 
in South and Central Laos (Thewlis etal. 1998), perhaps 
with the latter reflecting nest-site availability. However, 
Plain Martins nest in sand cliffs, and any association 
with rocky stretches may more likely reflect increased 
insect prey numbers in more heterogeneous habitats. 
The species was recorded breeding (one active nest hole, 
and additional martins) between Ban Phakam and Ban 
Phaoy, south of Ban Houayxai, on 21 May 1966 
(Dickinson 1966). On 25 December 1983, there were 
40 presumed nest-holes of Plain Martins in earth banks 
at the Ruak River, the small stream dividing Myanmar 
from Thailand just upstream of Chiang Saen (about 20 
birds were seen in the air).This colony had gone by the 
mid-1990s, due to the bank of the stream being 
concreted at that point. 

Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: Two at Muang Pakbeng on 3 
January 2000, in a sexual chase. Otherwise, in both 
winter and April, recorded only downstream of Ban Bo, 
and only common downstream from the Thai/ 
Xaignabouli border to Paksang (Table l).The total of 
55 is probably a major underestimate, although there 
are no land-based observations to demonstrate this (cf. 
Plain Martin). At least six downstream of Pak Ou on 
29 January 1999. In late April 2000, 5-6 around Chiang 
Khan island, including juveniles, and 20-30 around 
Pakchom sandbar. Vientiane: Three just upstream of 
Ban Thanasanghin on 15 November 1998. A total of 
200-500 off Ban Nasa on 26 September 1999. In late 
April 2000, a few at Ban Phu KhaoThong, two or more 
upstream of BanThanasanghin, and two at 17°56’00”N 
101°44T2”E. Middle Lao Mekong: In late April 2000, 
one south-east of Bung Kan; two off Mukdahan; about 
15 at Hat Sung, Khemmaraj; and at least 10 at Khong 
Chiam. 

The Mekong between Pak Ou and Vientiane 
supports a regionally outstanding population of this 
species. Along the Upper Lao Mekong, the species was 
not recorded upstream of Muang Pakbeng, despite an 
abundance of seemingly suitable habitat, and careful 
searching. This lack of records must reflect genuine 
scarcity and there are no historical records on the 
Mekong from upstream of Louangphabang, nor has it 
ever been recorded from further upstream in China 
(Cheng 1987). Few unidentified hirundines were seen 
from the boat, especially in winter (Table 1). Although 
hirundines tend to feed higher in the middle of the day, 
substantial amounts of observation in Bokeo were in 
the early morning and evening, when the other 
hirundine species were down lower. Furthermore, many 
Wire-tailed Swallows were recorded south of Pak Ou, 
irrespective of time of day. Many birds were perched on 
rocks or flying around them, low down. There are no 
records from the Thai side of the Bokeo stretch (PDR 
unpublished data), also suggesting a genuine absence 
or scarcity of the species there. The reason for this is 
unclear. Much of the far north, especially in the stretch 
forming the Lao/Myanmar border, was full of suitable 
mid-stream rocky outcrops and looked very similar to 
other areas supporting the species further south, e.g. 
the lower Nam Kading (Duckworth et al. 1998a). 




Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


33 


Northern House Martin Delichon urbica 

Xiangkhouang:Two over Phou Gnouan on 1 1 October 
1999. 

The only recent records of the species in Laos come 
from Central Laos (Nakai Plateau: Duckworth et al. 

1998) , although there are historical records for the 
North (David-Beaulieu 1944). 

Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus 

Upper Lao Mekong: At least 20 birds at each of Ban 
Houayxai and Ban Namgnon-Kao on 27 December 

1999. No other records, despite substantial observation 
in both areas in the following week. 

Atypically cold weather, which had been in progress 
for several days, presumably brought the birds in on 27 
December. From the next day it warmed markedly and 
no more birds were seen. Asian House Martin has been 
recorded widely in Laos in recent years, mainly from in 
or adjacent to hills (Duckworth 1996, Evans and 
Timmins 1998, Duckworth et al. 1998a, Davidson in 
prep.). As a mobile species, well illustrated by these 
records, it is difficult to define a regular range for it. 

Nepal House Martin Delichon nipalensis 
Xaisomboun: Over 200 birds, with Dusky Crag 
Martins and swiftlets, around high karst (c. 1,120 m) 
c.5 km south-west of the town on 14 November 1999. 

Although first recorded for Laos only in 1993 
(Thewlis et al. 1996), the species occurs widely in rugged 
hill areas (Duckworth et al. 1998a, 1999); this is the 
northernmost Lao record to date. 

Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus 

Xiangkhouang: Common on Phou Gnouan in 
November 1999; about 10% of 200 or so white-eyes 
identified were of this species, but hundreds more were 
present and not seen clearly. 

Although only first recorded for Laos in winter 1995/ 
1996 (Dymond 1995), records in subsequent winters 
(Evans 2001, Davidson in prep., R. J. Tizard verbally 

1999) suggest that it is a regular visitor. 

Spotted Bush Warbler Bradypterus thoracicus 
Upper Lao Mekong: Common in rank coarse growth 
at Ban Namgniou on 9 April 2000 (not confirmed as 
this species) and heard in the Mekong channel at both 
Chiang Khan island and Pakchom sandbar in late April 

2000 . 

Calls and appearance of birds at Ban Namgniou are 
compatible with the northern, longer-distance migrant 
subspecies B. (t.) suschkini or B. (t.) davidi , which may 
be better considered a separate species, B. davidi (Round 
and Loskot 1995). No birds of the genus were found in 
winter in this same area of rank growth despite careful 
searching. This form is the only one of the genus 
common in lowland riverine situations in Thailand 
(PDR unpublished data). This is the first record for 
Laos, the lack of previous Lao records presumably 
reflecting the limited effort in appropriate habitat. 

Bianchi’s Warbler Seicercus valentini 

Xiangkhouang: One on Phou Gnouan in November 
1999. Other records of the genus (Appendix 1) were 
not identified to species. 


Alstrom and Olsson (1999) reclassified the nominal 
‘golden-spectacled warbler Seicercus burkii' into five 
species. One bird on Phou Gnouan in November called 
with a subdued, soft, slightly hurried-sounding whistled 
heuw call, repeated regularly. This fits Bianchi’s Warbler 
A. v. valentini , a form that (on the basis of other records 
assembled by Alstrom and Olsson 1999) could be 
expected to occur in Laos and is listed for the North by 
Robson (2000). This is based on specimens from Lo- 
Tiao (two, 10-11 January 1939) and Xiangkhouang 
(one, 10 January 1926) held in NHM (Tring, U.K.: C. 
R. Robson in litt. 2000).The two from Lo-Tiao, collected 
by J. Delacour and J. C. Greenway, are labelled as A. 
burkii affinis. This is now considered a separate species, 
and while traditionally listed as occurring in Laos (e.g. 
Delacour and Jabouille 1940, King et al. 1975), this 
confusion with historical specimens increases even more 
the doubt surrounding the occurrence of A. affinis in 
Laos (see Duckworth et al. 1999). 

Hwamei Garrulax canorus 

Xaisomboun: A small flock in karst scrub on 16 
November 1999. Xiangkhouang: Single small flocks 
in pinewoods above Ban Phonsavan on 30 November 
1999 and 20 April 2000. 

There are rather few records of the species in Laos 
(Delacour and Jabouille 1927, Bangs and van Tyne 1931, 
David-Beaulieu 1944, 1949-1950, Tizard et al. 1997, 
R. J. Tizard verbally 1999), perhaps reflecting its usual 
occurrence in scrub rather than habitats of higher 
conservation importance (and thus survey effort). It is 
under heavy trapping pressure in Vietnam (J. C. Eames 
verbally 1997-1999) and has recently been added to 
CITES Appendix II. Listing of Lao records may 
therefore be useful. 

Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense 

Upper Lao Mekong: Two small flocks at Ban 
Namgniou on 30 December 1999, one flock there on 9 
April 2000, and one small flock at Ban Khonkeo on 31 
December 1999. Xaisomboun: A small flock on 16 
November 1999. Xiangkhouang: A small flock at Ban 
Latsen on 15 February 1999. 

All records came from areas of coarse vegetation 
mixed with tall grass. Although widespread and common 
in Thailand (Boonsong Lekagul and Round 1991), this 
species may be localised in Lao distribution (Duckworth 
et al. 1998a). Like other recent Lao sites with records, 
Ban Latsen and Muang Xaisomboun are degraded mid¬ 
altitude areas, but the Bokeo records come from the 
Mekong floodplain. PDR found this species in tall grass 
on the Thai bank in the southern part of the Upper Lao 
Mekong, at both Chiang Khan island and Pakchom 
sandbar, in late April 2000. 

Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 
Upper Lao Mekong: Several birds heard singing at 
Ban Viangkham on 1 January 2000, over an area of 
cultivation and fallow along the Mekong bank. 
Xiangkhouang: Three singing birds at Ban Latsen on 
18 April 2000. 

This species was first recorded in Laos only in late 
1997 and has so far been found only in the Vientiane 
area (Parr and Parr 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999, 
Davidson in prep.). From Thai records mapped in 



34 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Boonsong Lekagul and Round (1991), the species’s 
occurrence in the Upper Lao Mekong is not unexpected. 
The record from Ban Latsen suggests breeding up to at 
least 1,120 m. 

Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola 
Upper Lao Mekong: A male with horses in puddly 
stubble at Ban Namgnon-Kao on 27 December 1999. 
A male and probably a female at the water’s edge of a 
large bare sandbar near Ban Viangkham on 1 January 
2000. Three males at Ban Khonkeo on 6 April 2000, a 
pair at Ban Namgniou on 9 April, 36 (mostly males) at 
Ban Donkhon on 7 April and singles at Chiang Saen 
on 7 and 8 April. Vientiane: A male on 14 December 
1998 at Don Chuan, and singles at BanThadua on 25 
March and 3 April 1999. Xiangkhouang: Two males 
at Ban Latsen on 13 February 1999. 

This species was first recorded for Laos in winter 
1992-1993, in the Mekong channel at Vientiane 
(Thewlis et al. 1996). It has now been found to occur 
there regularly in winter (these records; also Duckworth 
et al. 1998a). The above are the first Lao records away 
from this site and suggest that the species is well 
distributed and not uncommon.The reference in David- 
Beaulieu (1948) to a specimen of Motacilla alba leacopsis 
with a clean bright yellow face and underparts perhaps 
indicates a male Citrine Wagtail. 

Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus 
Potentially At Risk in Laos 

Upper Lao Mekong: At Ban Xiangkhok, at least 40 in 
a tall, open-canopied fig tree in the grounds of a temple 
on 8 April 2000. Males were in breeding dress and birds 
were carrying nest material. A flock of at least 60 feeding 
in coarse ruderals at Ban Namgniou on 9 April 2000 
flew in late afternoon into channel bushland to roost. 

The status of this species in Laos is poorly known 
(Thewlis et al. 1996, Duckworth et al. 1999) but it seems 
to be markedly less common than might be expected. 
An additional, previously unpublished, past record, is 
that the species seemed to be common in the rainy 
season in the Mekong plain between Vientiane and 
Pakxan in the early 1960s (W. W. Thomas in litt. 1999). 
The birds in April 2000 were very conspicuous, and 
presumably were somewhere else in December-January; 
a possibility that adds another difficulty to assessing its 
national conservation status. 

Black-headed Greenfinch Carduelis ambigua 
Xiangkhouang: Common in Ban Phonsavan 
pinewoods, in flocks of up to eight, in February and 
November 1999 and April 2000 (little time was spent 
in the pinewoods in other months). Birds were heard 
around the pines at Jar site II, adjacent to Ban Latsen, 
in February. Away from pines, small numbers were 
feeding on seeds of ruderals in fallow hai field high on 
Phou Gnouan in November and in April. 

The only previous Lao records are also from 
Xiangkhouang, where David-Beaulieu (1944) described 
the species as rather rare, and closely tied to pinewoods 
at c. 1,200 m. 

Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola 
Vientiane: At least 350 along the Mekong bank and in 
paddies 4 km upstream of the Lao-Thai bridge on 11 
April 1999. 


The otherwise largest recent Lao counts (about 100 
birds) come from the northern zone of Xe Pian NBCA 
in December 1992-January 1993 (Thewlis et al. 1996; 
unpublished data).The records from Xiangkhouang in 
Appendix 1 are more typical, being of single-figure 
numbers. Formerly, there were big flocks across 
Xiangkhouang and Savannakhet Provinces in autumn 
(David-Beaulieu 1944, 1949-1950), but other historical 
records are of small numbers (Bangs and vanTyne 1931, 
Engelbach 1932). 

Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala 

Upper Lao Mekong: Several dozen going to roost in 
tall coarse riverbank grass at Ban Namgniou on 30 
December 1999. Up to eight found every time vegetated 
channel mosaic was searched at Ban Namgnon-Kao, 
Ban Khonkeo and Ban Namgniou in December/ 
January/April. Also, two in a fallow riverbank field at 
Ban Namgniou on 9 April 2000. 

There are not many other Lao records: a few (no 
habitat details) from Xiangkhouang province (Delacour 
andjabouille 1927, David-Beaulieu 1944), and one bird 
in Nam Xam NBCA in January 1998 (Showier et al. 
1998b). Attachment to Mekong channel scrub was 
noted for northern Thailand (Boonsong Lekagul and 
Round 1991). Northern Laos may be at the southern 
limit of the wintering range, as none has been seen in 
such habitat aroundVientiane or in the Centre or South. 


CONCLUSIONS 

Surveys of Phou Bia and the montane forests of south¬ 
east Xiangkhouang Province are of very high 
importance. These areas are likely to hold much of 
national ornithological importance. The international 
bird conservation importance of the Upper Lao Mekong 
does not match that of the Cambodian Mekong. Even 
so, it is of different community composition (presence 
of Jerdon’s Bushchat, abundance of Plain Martin, 
absence of Mekong Wagtail). This highly distinctive and 
vulnerable bird community is not represented in 
NBCAs, hence some permanent designation of a 
representative stretch for bird conservation is desirable. 
Suitable stretches would include much channel mosaic 
habitat: candidates are downstream of Paklay, upstream 
of Ban Vang, and (contiguous with the former) between 
Ban Vang and Sangthong. The stretch around Paklay 
has the logistical advantage that it is entirely within Laos; 
the other lengths are along the international border of 
Laos with Thailand, and any conservation-related 
activities would therefore be more complicated. The 
stretch between Louangphabang and Paklay has not yet 
been surveyed at all and a survey is of the highest 
priority, as from topographic maps it seems to contain 
much channel mosaic. More extensive surveys of 
Xiangkhouang grasslands are a moderate priority to 
investigate (1) wintering raptors, (2) grassland bird 
populations, and (3) birds of the associated marshes. 
Market trading is still heavy in Ban Phonsavan and 
merits further investigation and subsequent sympathetic 
regulation. 

The conservation status of certain non-forest species 
in North Laos may be of special concern. Those worthy 
of mention fall into two groups. Firstly, species not 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


35 


designated as key species for national conservation by 
Duckworth et al. (1999) because they persist in good 
numbers (although in some cases only very locally) in 
the South and/or Centre: Common Hoopoe, Asian Koel, 
Red-wattled Lapwing, wintering egrets (all species), 
Large-billed Crow, and starlings and mynas (all species, 
including Common and White-vented Mynas). 
Secondly, species with no or few recent Lao records 
which, if they had not declined since historical times, 
might reasonably have been expected to be found much 
more commonly during these observations: Japanese 
Quail, Small Buttonquail, Short-eared Owl, Red 
Collared Dove (migrant population), Imperial Eagle, 
Lesser Kestrel, Black-billed Magpie, Asian Pied Starling 
and Chestnut Munia. At the next review of key species 
of birds for conservation in Laos, all these species should 
be considered for listing, as their populations are clearly 
well below carrying capacity across a major part of the 
country. 

By comparison of the species accounts, the national 
importance of the northern zone of Xe Pian NBCA for 
conservation of wetland and open-country birds 
becomes incidentally apparent. Much of this zone’s 
special wetland habitat is not included within current 
NBCA boundaries and recent industrial-scale peat 
extraction is likely to be degrading the area’s 
ornithological importance considerably. The results 
presented here also re-emphasise the need for 
comprehensive ornithological investigation of the large 
wetlands that may remain in Central Laos (Claridge 
1996); some were discussed by David-Beaulieu (1949- 
1950) but there is no recent information about any of 
them. 

Observations in montane forest and pinewoods were 
too brief to comment on bird community status. These 
communities are relatively well represented in NBCAs. 
It may be important to survey any remaining mature 
pinewoods to assess the bird community. The height of 
Phou Bia and the relatively sizeable area in the higher 
montane zone (above 1,800 m) suggests that it may 
support a bird community important in Laos. Only two 
other high mountain areas (Phou Samsoum and Phou 
Xailaileng, both in Nam Chouan PNBCA) may be 
comparable in having a similar-sized area above 2,000 
m. Aerial observations suggest that while a substantial 
patch of forest remains in the higher altitudes of Phou 
Bia, it is quite isolated from other forest. Contiguity to 
lower altitudes is probably broken and this community 
may thus be quite threatened. 

The extensive river-channel bird counts, while not 
comprehensive, make clear that breeding populations 
of all species other than, potentially, Small Pratincole, 
Little Ringed Plover and various passerines, are likely 
to be below carrying capacity, and there have been many 
local extinctions. The balance of outright persecution 
and incidental disturbance in the loss and decline of 
these species is not clear, but there is a pattern of major 
regional declines in these species (Boonsong Lekagul 
and Round 1991, Duckworth etal. 1998b, 1999,Thewlis 
et al. 1998, Evans et al. 2000a, Poole et al. in prep.). 
Even without the issues of harvesting and disturbance, 
the major rivers of South-East Asia are facing a basket 
of threats (flow alteration and regulation; pollution; 
activities in their drainage basins) which acting 
synergistically are likely to result in major biodiversity 


loss (Dudgeon 2000 and references therein).This means 
that the vitally important conservation attempts for river 
channel birds will be very complicated to implement. 
Since these observations were made, much mosaic 
habitat has already been destroyed, as part of a Chinese 
undertaking to increase the size of ships able to travel 
the Mekong between China and Thailand, Myanmar 
and Laos. It is the mosaic areas that currently limit 
shipping activity, and have therefore been slated for 
blasting to widen the channel. During dry season 2001 - 
2002, four of the mosaic stretches in the Lao-Myanmar 
section were opened up. As this paper goes to press, it is 
unclear how much suitable habitat remains on either 
side of the blasted channel. In some stretches, the 
Mekong is so wide that even after opening, significant 
mosaic habitat could remain, indicating that while these 
activities have unquestionably been detrimental to 
channel bird communities, they may not have destroyed 
them. The current scheme is intended to extend down 
to Louangphabang, that is, to terminate upstream of 
the exceedingly important Paklay-Sangthong section. 
However, it is unclear what future extensions might be 
proposed, so this emphasises the need for consideration 
of conservation designation of some of this stretch now. 

Whatever the total loss of channel habitat and bird 
populations to channel opening activities, it is certainly 
less than will occur if the six or more cross-Mekong 
hydropower projects seriously mooted for Yunnan, 
China, are built.This programme will devastate aquatic 
biodiversity in the entire Mekong catchment (Roberts 
2001). Mosaic areas will be especially severely affected, 
because the wide seasonal amplitude in water flow and 
level that maintains this habitat will be greatly reduced. 


Particular thanks to John Parr, Bryan Stuart, RobTizard and Laura 
Watson for providing records incorporated into the text. Linda Birch, 
Geoff Carey, Edward Dickinson, Jonathan Eames, John Howes, Tim 
Inskipp, Hongheun Khounphithack, Colin Poole, Bill Robichaud, 
Craig Robson, Tony Stones, Bill Thomas, Joost van derVen, Roger 
Wilkinson and Mike Wilson answered queries and/or supplied refer¬ 
ences. Identifications were checked against the important bird skin 
collection at the Natural History Museum, Tring, and we particu¬ 
larly thank Robert Prys-Jones for arranging access. The shrub 
Homonoia riparia was identified from two localities, by DrThawatchai 
Santisuk (Thai Royal Forest Department Herbarium) and Dr John 
Dransfield (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) respectively. In 
Xiangkhouang, Mr Somboon and various senior members of the 
police were very helpful in arranging access to Latsen and Phou 
Gnouan. Syphavanh Inthapatha advised on boat schedules and ap¬ 
propriate destinations. Martin Duckworth, Sonapa Round and 
Isabella Round tolerated their respective relatives’ activities on ‘holi¬ 
day’. 


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Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


37 


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Rob@naturalists.freeserve.co.uk 


Species 



bC 

a 

o 

JxZ 

OJ 

2 


O 

03 


l— J 


2 



C3 

2 


Chinese Francolin Francolinus pintadeanus 


e 









Blue-breasted Quail Coturnix chinensis 

LKL 








c 


Japanese Quail Coturnix japonica 

LKL 

[c] 







c 


Rufous-throated Partridge Arborophila rufogularis ' 










0,0,0,0,0,2 

Bar-backed Partridge A. brunneopectus 



b 







7,0,0,0,0,0 

Scaly-breasted Partridge A. charltonii 










2,0,0,0,0,0 

Mountain Bamboo Partridge Bambusicola fytchii 










0,0,0,0,0,2 

Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus 





a 





7,0,3,2,0,0 

Silver Pheasant Lophura nycthemera 










8,0,5,2,0,0 

Grey Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum 



b 








■ Lesser Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica 







b 

a 



Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha 





ab 


ab 

abc 

a 

1 

Northern Pintail A. acuta 





a 



b 

a 


Garganey A. querquedula 


c 









Common Teal A. crecca 


a 






a 



Yellow-legged Buttonquail Turnix tanki 









c 


Barred Buttonquail T. suscitator 


e 



B 






Buttonquail Turnix sp. (1) 


a 


a 

a 




d 


Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla 


d 


a 

b 






White-browed Piculet Sasia ochracea 



a 








Great Barbet Megalaima virens 



be 







0,0,0,0,0,1 

Green-eared Barbet M. faiostricta 










6 

Golden-throated Barbet M. franklinii 










0,0,1,1,0,0 

Blue-throated Barbet M. asiatica 

A[cD] 




a[b[ 

a 





Moustached Barbet M. incognita 



ABC 



a 





[Blue-eared Barbet M. australis] 




M 







Common Hoopoe Upupa epops 








b 



Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis 





ab 

be 

A 




Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis 





B 

C 





Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 


aCDE 


a 

Ab 

C 


a 

de 

6 

[Banded Kingfisher Lacedo pulchella] 





fbl 






White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smymensis 

d 

acde 


a 

AB 

BC 

a 




Buck-capped Kingfisher H. pileata 


ce 



aB 

bC 

b 

c 

d 


Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis 

ARL 




b 













































38 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et a!. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Species 



o 

pa 


Cl. 


QJ 

a 

2 

a 

ru 


> 


03 

03 




03 

3 

~a 

03 

H 


c 

03 

3 


CJ 


c 

o 


Q 


fc£) 

C 

O 

~QJ 



§ 


C/3 

!— 

o 

_c 


o 


Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis 




[a] 

A 

b 






BmE-TArLED Bee-eater M. philippinus 

PARL 




[b] 


b 





Chestnut-headed Bee-eater M. leschenaulti 





b 


b 



a 


Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides 

ac 

e 

c 


b 







Indian Cuckoo Cuculus microptem 





B 







Plaintive Cuckoo C. merulinus 





aB 

ac 


abc 

b 



Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris 





b 

c 






Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis 



ab 


a 

b 






Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis 

d 




AB 

C 

a 

be 

[d] 



Lesser Coucal C. bengalensis 

acd 

acde 



A 



c 

b 

6 


Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri 







a 





Swiftlet Collocalta sp. 

d 



A 

b 



b 




White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus 

d 











Brown-backed Needletail H. giganteus 



A 


ab 

C 




1 


Needletail Hirundapus sp. (1) 

a 











Aslan Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis 

a 




AB 

Be 

a 

abc 

bde 

6 


Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus 




a 

b 

a 




a 


House Swift A. affinis 






a 






Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronata 





A 

b 






Barn Owl Tyio alba 









see text 



Collared Scops Owl Orus bakkamoena 





a 







Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides 

Ad 


ac 


AB 

a 

a 


d 

6 


Great Eared Nightjar Eurostopodus macrotis 






a 






[Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus] 





[a] 







Nightjar Caprimulgus sp. (1) 





A 

b 






Rock Pigeon (feral/domestic) Columba lima 


c 










Ashy Wood Pigeon Columba pulchricollis 

LKL 










1,0,0,0,0,0 

Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 





Ab 





[6] 


Red Colured Dove S. tranquebarica 


ce 










Dove Streptopelia sp. (1) 





A 


a 





Barred Cuckoo Dove Macropygia unchall 











2,0,1,0,0,0 

Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 



b 


a 







Peacerl Dove Geopelia striata 








ab 

d 



Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvimtra 











4,0,4,2,0,0 

Pin-tailed Green Pigeon T. apicauda 











0,0,0,1,0,0 

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon T. sphenura 



[b] 






a 



Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia 











1,0,0,0,0,0 

White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus 





ab 

c 






Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 





b 







PintauVSwinhoe’s Snipe Gallinago stenuralG. megala 


cd 



AB 



c 




Common Snipe G. gallinago 


Acde 



Ab 



b 

b 



Snipe Gallinago sp. (1) 


c 





a 

c 


3 


Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus 


d 



ab 


a 

abc 

a 

a 2 


Marsh Sandpiper T. stagnatilis 





b 



abc 




Common Greenshank T. nebularia 





AB 


aB 

abc 

abde 

A 2 


Green Sandpiper T. ochropus 


acDe 



a 



ab 

a 



Wood Sandpiper T. glareola 


b 



b 



abc 

b 

2 


Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 





AB 

Be 

AB 

abc 

bede 

A 1,2,6 


Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes 










a 


Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis 


c 










Temminck’s Stint C. temminckii 





B 


a 

abc 

abde 

2,3,6 


Dunlin C. alptna 





a 


a 


ad 



Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea 









d 

a 


Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus 


c 






c 




Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis 





b 







Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chuurgus 










a 


































































Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


39 


Spedes 



Great Thick-knee Esacus recurmrostris 

ARL 







ab 



a 

i 

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 



b 



b 



abc 




Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 



c 






ab 




Grey Plover P squatarola 










a 



Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 



c 



AB 

a Be 

AB 

abc 

abede 

A 

2,3,6 

Kentish Plover C. alexandrinus 






Ab 

b 

a 

abc 

abde 

a 

2, 3,6 

Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii 









b 




Lesser/Greater Sand plover C. mongolusIC. leschenaultii (1) 









c 


a 


River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii 

ARL 





AB 

aBC 

Ab 



a 

1 

Grey-headed Lapwing V cinereus 

PARL 





AB 

c 

Ab 





Red-wattled Lapwing V. indicus 



de 










Oriental Pratincole Glarnla maldivarum 










a 



Small Pratincole G. lactea 

PARL 





AB 

aBc 

AB 

abc 

abede 

A 

3,6 

Herring-type gull Lam argentatus group 






a 


a 





Brown-headed Gull L. brunnicephalus 






b 



c 




Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus 










a 



River Tern Sterna auramia 

ARL 







a 





Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus 









b 


a 


White-winged Tern C. leucopterus 











a 


Osprey Pandion haliaetus 



c 










Oriental Honey-buzzard Penis ptilorhyncus 


bCd 


abc 

a 

a 

c 






Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus 



Acd 


a 

b 



be 



2 

Black Kite MUvus migrans 

ARL 


acd 







a 



Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus 











a 


Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus 


c* 











Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela 


d 


c 


a 

aBc 






Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus (2) 



acd 






c 

d 


6 

Pied Harrier C. melanoleucos 



acde 









6 

Harrier Circus sp. (1) 


b 

aCDe 


a 




c 




Shikra Accipiter badius 






ab 

bC 





3 

Chinese Sparrowhawk A. soloensis 


D 











[Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus] 


[bd] 

[c] 


[a] 








Accipiter Accipiter sp. (1) 


ad 

ace 

b 

a 

ab 

Be 

a 

c 

d 



Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus 


cd 







c 




Common Buzzard Buteo buteo 


c 

acd 


a 

a 







Eagle Aquila sp. 


b 











Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 



AcD 


A 

a[b] 




e 


6 

Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo 



c 










Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus 






a 







Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 

ARL 





a 

b 






Little Egret Egretta garzetta 



c 



aB 

c 

[a] 



a 


Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 

PARL 


c 



Ab 

b 

b 

c 

e 

a 


Purple Heron A. purpurea 

PARL 


c 










Great Egret Casmerodius albus 



c 



[a]b 





a 


Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia 



c 










Cattle Egret Bubukus ibis 






ab 

c 




a 


Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus 



ae 



B 

c 

a 

be 




Pond heron Ardeola sp. (1) 



be 


a 

Ab 

be 

ab 


d 

a 

3.6 

Little Heron Butorides striatus 






Ab 


b 


d 



Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus 



e 



b 


[b] 



a 


Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris 

ARL 


a 










Black Stork Ciconia nigra 

ARL 


d 










Silver-breasted BroadbUI Serilophus lunatus 






a 







Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae 






b 







Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella 






a 







[Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis] 






[a] 



































































40 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Species 



e/3 


> 



Brown Shrike Lanius crismtus 


aCDE 


a 

a 



abc 

abde 

6 


Long-tailed Shrike L. schach 

b 

aCDe 


A 

A 







Grey-backed Shrike L. tephronotus 




a 

Ab 







Ratchet-tailed Treepie Temnurus temnurus 




a 








Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 





ab 

c 

a 

a 


6 


Asm’ Woodswallow Artamus fusciis 





a 







Black-naped./Slender-billed Oriole Oriolus chinensislO. tenuirostris 





b 







Maroon Oriole 0. traillii 





a 







[Black-winged Cuckooshrike Comcina melaschistos] 





[a] 







Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus 

d 











Ashy/Rosy/Swmhoe’s Minivet P. divaricatusIP. rneusIP. cantonensis 




a 

b 




d 



Short-billed Minivet P. brevirostris 



[ab]c 









Scarlet Minivet P.flammeus 




a 

a 







Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus 



b 

a 

b 







Yellow-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hypoxantha 



ABc 









White-throated Fantail R. albicollis 



AB 


[a] 







Pied Fantail R. javanica 








be 




Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus 


Cd[e] 



b 


aB 

c 

bd 

A 6 


Ashy Drongo D. leucophaeus 



ac 

a 

A 

b 




1 


Bronzed Drongo D. aeneus 





a 







[Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo D. remifer] 



[c] 









Spangled Drongo D. hottentottus 

d** 



a 





a 



Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis asurea 




a 

a 




d 



Asian Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi 

b 








d 



Common Iora Aegithina tiphia 





AB 







Great Iora A. lafresnayei 





a 







Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius 




a 

AB 

aBc 

A 

b 




Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus 



b 


a 






2,0,L1,0,0 

Siberian Thrush Zoothera sibirica 



Ab 









Scaly Thrush Z. dauma 



b 









Dark-sided Thrush Z. marginata 



b 









Black-breasted Thrush Turdus dissimilis LKL 



b 








0,0,1,1,0,0 

Grey-winged Blackbird T. boulboul LKL 











0,0,1,1,0,0 

Eyebrowed Thrush T. obscurus 



B 


[a] 






0,0,1,0,0,0 

Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica 



c 









Asian Brown Flycatcher M. dauurica 


cE 

c 


b 

c 






Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia 






c 






Mugimaki Flycatcher F. mugimaki 



c 









Slaty-backed Flycatcher F. hodgsonii 



B 









Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher F. suophiata 



b 









Red-throated Flycatcher F. parva 

aC 

ce 

b 

A 

Ab 

B 

A 

be 

de 

6 


[White-gorgeted Flycatcher F. monileger] 



[a] 









Little Pied Flycatcher F. westermanni 



ac 


a 







Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana 



ab 









Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina 



A 

a 

A 




e 



Large Niltava Niltava grandis 



bC 









Small Niltava N. macgrigoriae 



c 









Hainan Blue Flycatcher Cyornis hainanus 

(a] 


a 









HiliVTickell’s Blue Flycatcher C. banyumasl C. tickelliae 




a 

a 

fc] 






Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culiacapa ceylonensis 


a 

c 

a 

A 

B 

a 


de 



Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope 

c 

ADE 

ab 

a 

AB 







Bluethroat L. svecica 


ADE 



B 

c 


a 


2 


Siberian Blue Robin L. cyane 





A 







Orange-funked Bush Robin Tarsiger cyanurus 



b 









Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis 


ac 


a 

AB 

B 

A 

b 

d 

6 


White-rumped Shama C. malabaricus 





A 






































































Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


41 



Species 

Threat 

B. Phonsavan 

Ban Latsen 

Phou Gnouan 

Xaisom-boun 

Bokeo etc. 

Pakbeng-L’phabang 

Paklay-Vientiane 

Thadua 

Don Chuan 

Mid Lao Mekong 

Others 

Market visits 

White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura 




a 









Purple Cochoa Cochoa purpurea 

LKL 











9,0,0,0,0,0 

Green Cochoa C. viridis 












1,0,0,0,0, 

Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata 


ACDE 

be 

A 

AB 

c 

a 

be 

abde 

3,6 


Pied Bushchat S. caprata 


b* 

ce 


a 



a 



6 


Jerdon’s Bushchat S. jerdom 




c 

a 

AB 

ABC 

AB 



3 


Grey Bushchat S. ferrea 


AbC 

ac 

abc 

A 

A 







Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus 



c 





[a] 





Purple-backed Starling S. sturninus 



c 










Black-collared Starling S. nigricollis 



aCd 



b 

a 





0,0,0,0,0,1 

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis 








a 

ac 

bde 

6 


White-vented Myna A. dnereus 



ac 



ab 






0,0,0,0,0,2 

Hill Myna Gracula religiosa 






b 







Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sim castanea 




a 









Velvet-fronted Nuthatch S. frontalis 




Be 









Fire-capped'Tit Cephalopyrus flammiceps 






a 







Great Tit Pants major 


AbCD 











Yellow-cheeked Tit P. spilonotus 




ABC 









Black-throated Tit Aegithalos condmus 




c 









Sand Martin Riparia nparia 









be 

[a] 

[3] 


Plain Martin R. paludicola 

ARL 





AB 

aBc 

Ab 

be 




Dusky Crag Martin Hirundo concolor 





A 


a 






Barn Swallow H. rustica 


b 

aCe 


a 

AB 

Be 

A 

abc 

abede 

1,2,3,6 

0,0,0,0,0,20 

Wire-tailed Swallow H. smithii 

PARL 






Be 

AB 



A 1 


Red-rumped Swallow H. daurica 


ad 

c 



AB 

c 

b 

b 

ae 

1,6 


Striated Swallow H. striolata 






b 

a 

b 



a 


Red-rumped/Striated Swallow H. dauricalH. striolata (1) 


c 

D 


A 

aB 

be 

a 



3 

0,0,0,0, 0,10 

Northern House Martin Delichon urbica 




a 









Asian House Martin D. dasypus 






a 







Northern/Asian House Martin D. urbicalD. dasypus (1) 


C 


a 


b 







Nepal House Martin D. nipalensis 





A 








Crested Finchbhl Spizixos canifrons 




B 








3,0,0,0,0,0 

Striated Bulbul Pycnonotus striarn 












0,0,0,1,0,0 

Black-headed Bulbul P. atriceps 






a 







Black-crested Bulbul P. melanicterus 





a 

A 

a 






Red-whiskered Bulbul P.jocosus 


d 



A 

AB 

b 


ac 

b 

6 


Brown-breasted Bulbul P. xanthorrhous 




ABC 

a 







4,0,4,4,0,0 

Sooty-headed Bulbul P. aurigaster 



aCD 


A 

AB 

b 






Stripe-throated Bulbul P.finlaysom 






a 







Flavescent Bulbul P.flavescens 




Be 








1,0,0,0,0,0 

Yellow-vented Bulbul P. goiavier 











a 


Puff-throated Bulbul Alophoixus pallidus 






a 







Grey-eyed Bulbul Iok propinqua 





a 

ab 







Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcckUandii 




be 









Black Bulbul H. leucocephalus 




B 

a 







1,0,2,2,0,0 

Zitting Cisticola Cisticola junddis 


d* AbCDE 


M 




be 


6 


Bright-headed Cisticola C. exilis 






b 



be 

abede 

2,3,6 


Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens 


AbCD 




a 







Grey-breasted Prinia P. hodgsonii 





A 

AB 

c 


c 

aede 



Yellow-belled Prinia Pflamventris 






aB 


a 

c 

bde 

2,6 


Plain Prinia P. inornata 


d* 

ae 


a 

AB 



be 

abede 

6 


Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleum 




B 









[Japanese White-eye Z. japonicus] 



fal 

|B1 

M 

[A] 

fal 






White-eye Zosterops sp. (1) 


AC 


aB 

A 

A 

B 

A 

c 

bde 

6 


Slaty-bellied Tesia Tesia olivea 




BC 









Asian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps 




b 


a 




































































42 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Species 


x: 


x: 

cu 


>— ) 


c 

a 


x: 


6 


X 


CQ 


J 


-C 

H 


xs 

U 

c 


[Pale-footed Bush Warbler Cettia pallidipes] 

[a] 









Japanese Bush Warbler C. diphone 







b 



Bush warbler Cettia sp. (1) 

a 

b 

a 







Spotted Bush Warbler Bradypterus thoraacus 




[B] 


b 




Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata 

a 


a 

b 



c 



Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps 




b 



c 

c 


[Oriental Reed Warbler A. orientalis] 

[c] 






[C] 

[C] 


Thick-billed Warbler A aetIon 

c 




c 


abc 

ad 


Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus 


ABC 








Common Tailorbird 0 . sutorius 

AbCD acE 


A 

AB 

aBC 

A 

be 

abde 

1,6 

Dark-necked Tailorbird 0. atrogularis 




a 

c 





Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus 

cd ACDE 


A 

AB 

Be 

A 

abc 

abde 

2.3 

Buff-throated Warbler P. subaffinis 

aC 


a 







Radde’s Warbler P schwarzi 

ac,e* 


a 

a 

c 


ac 

bd 

6 

[Chinese Leaf Warbler P. sichuanensis] 

[ac] 

[b] 








Yellow-browed Warbler P. inornatus 

AbCd ad[e] 

Ab 

A 

Ab 

aBc 

A 

be 

bde 

6 

Greenish Warbler P. trochibides (3) 

[e] 



A 

B 

A 




[Rale-legged Leaf Warbler P. tenellipes] (4) 

d 



a 






Blyth’s Leaf Warbler P. reguloides 




a 






[White-tailed Leaf Warbler P. davisom] 


[ABC] 








Golden-spectacled-type warbler Seicercus burkii- group (5) 


ABc 








Rufous-faced W.arbler Abroscopus albogularis 


a 








Striated Grassbird Megalurus palustris 

ADe 


a 







Hwamei Garrulax canorus 

cd 


a 







White-browed Laughingthrush G. sannio 




b 






Buff-breasted Babbler Pellorneum tickelli 


abc 








[White-browed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps] 




[a] 






Scimitar babbler Pomatorhinus sp. (1) 

d 

BC 


B 






Limestone Wren Babbler Napothera crispijrons 



A 







Rufous-fronted Babbler Stachyris rufifrons 

ACD 



AB 

b 





Golden B.abbler S. chrysaea 


ABc 








Grey-throated Babbler S. nigriceps 


ab 








Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularts 

acd ac 

a 

a 

AB 

aBC 

A 



1 

Chestnut-capped B.abbler Timalia pileata 

aCdE 



AB 

c 





Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense 

a 


a 

Ab 






Silver-eared Mesia Leiothm argentauns 


AbC 








White-browed Shrike Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis 


b 








Black-eared Shrike Babbler P. melanotis 


ABc 








Chestnut-fronted Shrike Babbler P. aenobarbus 


b 








Blue-winged Mma Minla cyanouroptera 


ABC 








Red-tailed Minla M. ignotincta 


AB 








Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaneceps 


ABc 








Brown-cheeked Fulvetta A. poioicephala 




a 

a 





Rusty-capped Fulvetta A. iubia 


c 








Grey-cheeked Fulvetta A. momsoma (6) 


ABC 








[Striated Yuhina Yuhina castaniceps] 


[b] 








Whiskered Yuhina Y. flavicollis 


ABc 








White-bellied Yuhina Y. zantholeuca 




a 






Lark Mirajra 1 Alauda sp. 









6 

Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 

E 



a 






Yellow-vented Flowerpecker Dicaeum chrysorrheum 



(a] 


a 





Fire-breasted Flowerpecker D. ignipectus 


AB 








Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker D. crumtatum 




AB 

a 


be 



Flowerpeckers Dicaeum spp. (1) 





Be 





Purple-NAPED Sunbird Hypogramma hypogramnncum 




a 






Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis 








d 































































Forktail 18 (2002) 


Bird records from Laos in 1998-2000 


43 


Species 



Ouve-backed/Purple Sunbird N. jugularisIN. asiatica 




A 






Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata 


b 








Crimson Sunbird A. siparaja 




a 

b 





Little Spiderhunter Arachmhera longimira 




AB 






Streaked Spiderhunter A. magna 


ABc 


a 






Plain-backed Sparrow Passer flaveolus 









6 

Eurasian Tree Sparrow P montanus 

ABCD** ce 



AB 

aC 

a 

be 

abede 


White Wagtail Motadlla alba 

a aCd 


A 

AB 

aBc 

A 

abc 

abde 

1,2,3,6 

Citrine Wagtail M. citreola 

a 



aB 



be 

b 


Yellow Wagtail M. flava 

[a]cD 


A 

[a]B 



abc 

abde 

1,2,6 

Grey Wagtail M. dnerea 



A 

Ab 

ab 





Richard’s Pipit Atithus richardi 

aCDE 


A 





aede 

6 

Paddyfield Pipit A. rufulus 

AbCDE 


a 

AB 



abc 

bde 

2,6 

Olive-backed Pipit A. hodgsoni 

ACd 

AB 

A 

AB 

B 



de 


Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus 

AcDe 


A 

Ab 



be 

abde 

2,6 

Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus 

PARL 



B 






White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata 



A 

AB 

b 



c 


Scaly-breasted Munia L. punctulata 

C 


a 

AB 

c 


be 

abede 

6 

Black-headed Greenfinch Carduehs ambigua 

ACd a* 

be 








Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 




a 






Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata 

E 









Little Bunting E. pusilla 

A 









Yellow-breasted Bunting E. aureola 

ce 






c 



Chestnut Bunting E. rutila 

d 


A 


c 





Buck-faced Bunting E. spodocephala 




AB 






Bunting Emberiza sp. (1) 

c D 

b 

A 








Key to columns (left to right) 

Species: square brackets [ ] indicate provisional identifications. Numbers in parentheses after the scientific name are for the following 

information: 

(1) does not include individuals identified to species; 

(2) mainly or entirely Eastern Marsh Harrier C. (a.) spilonotus ; 

(3) mainly or entirely Two-barred Warbler P (t.) plumbeitarsus ; 

(4) Sakhalin LeafWarbler P. borealoides not ruled out; 

(5) species (see Alstrom and Olsson 1999) unclear; 

(6) in morphology these birds showed some differences (to be detailed elsewhere) from the Grey-cheeked Fulvettas common in the 
northern Annamites, e.g. in Nakai-Nam Theun NBCA. 

Threat: codes are: ARL, At Risk in Laos; PARL, Potentially At Risk in Laos; LKL, Litde Known in Laos (following Duckworth et al. 1999). 

Ban Phonsavan: A, February 1999; B, October; C, November; D, April 2000. All records refer to pinewoods around the town except 
*airport and **urban area. 

Latsen: A, February 1999; B September; C, October; D, November; E, April 2000. All records refer to Latsen marsh except a few from 
*Jar site 2. Observation effort in visit B was much reduced compared with the other four. 

Phou Gnouan: A, October 1999; B, November; C, April 2000. All records refer to the broadleaf evergreen forest and adjacent hai and 
secondary regrowth; the few birds seen in the agricultural areas of the lower slopes are not included. 

Bokeo etc.: A, December 1999-January 2000; B, April 2000. Records come mainly from Bokeo Province with some from upstream as far 
as Xiangkhok (Louang-Namtha Province) and downstream almost as far as Pakbeng (Oudomxai Province). 

Pakbeng—Louangphabang: A, January 1999; B, January 2000; C, April 2000. 

Paklay—Vientiane: A, January 2000; B, April 2000 

BanThadua: A, 13 and 28 February 1999; B, 20,21 and 25 March 1999; C, 3 and 11 April 1999. 

Don Chuan (and adjacent bank habitats) A, 24 October, 7 and 21 November 1998; B, 2 and 14 December 1998, 2 January 1999; C, 8 
May 1999; D, 3 and 22 October, 24 November 1999; E, 6 and 14 December 1999. 

Other: 1, Sangthong, 26 September 1999; 2, Sandbars in Mekong at Ban Houayhom, 29 March 1998; 3, Mekong midway between 
Vientiane and Paksang, 15 November 1998; 6, Pakxan wetlands and Mekong channel, 26 December 1998. 

Market visits, all at Ban Phonsavan: 12 Feb 99, 14h00-15h00, 13 Feb 99, 14 Feb 99, 07h00, 14 Feb 99, lOhOO, 15 Feb 99 12h00, 30 Aug 
99, time not recorded. 

Presence is indicated by the letter of the visit; common birds (in general, more than four contacts daily) are indicated in upper case. 

Species lists for Mid Lao Mekong and for visit ‘b’ to Paklay-Vientiane are selective. These sites were covered from the Thai side. 

Observations of birds outside the river channel and in Thailand are not included in this table. 































44 


J. W. DUCKWORTH et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


APPENDIX 2 

Gazetteer of localities mentioned in the text 

Locality 

Bank 

Coordinates 

Altitude (m) + 
geographic subunit 

Ban Bo (ULM) 

L 

19°52’N 

101°39’E 

300,N, 10b 

Ban Donkhao (ULM); not marked, local name 

L 

20°24’N 

100°1 5’E 

355,N, 10b 

Ban Donkhon (ULM); not marked, local name 

L 

20°20’N 

100°13’E 

355,N, 10b 

Ban Houayhom (MVM) 

L 

17°59’N 

102°27’E 

165,N, 10a 

Ban Khonkeo (ULM) 

L 

20°17’N 

100°24’E 

345,N, 10b 

Ban Latsen (XKG) 

L 

19°20’N 

103°09’E 

1120,N, 10b 

Ban Lay (ULM) 

I. 

19°59’N 

101°54’E 

295,N, 10b 

Ban Mai island (MVM/ULM) 

L 

17°58’N 

102°28’E 

165, N, 10a 

Ban Muangmom (ULM) 

L 

20°26’N 

100°07’E 

375, N, 10b 

Ban Na Pho (MLM) 

T 

16°22’N 

104°53’E 

<150, C, 10a 

Ban Namgniou (ULM) 

L 

20°22’N 

100°22’E 

345, N, 10b 

Ban Namgnon-Kao (ULM) 

L 

20°25’N 

100°20’E 

350, N, 10b 

Ban Paktha (ULM) 

L 

20°07’N 

100°36’E 

335,N, 10b 

Ban Phaeng (Dist.), Nakhon Phanom Prov. (MLM) 

T 

17°58’N 

104°13’E 

<150, C, 10a 

Ban Phonsavan pinewoods (XKG) 

L 

19°26’N 

103°13’E 

1200-1370, N, 10b 

Ban Phu Khao Thong, Sangkhom Dist., Nong Khai Prov. (MVM) 

T 

18°12’N 

102°09’E 

160, N, 10a 

Ban Sivilai (other) 

L 

18°19’N 

102°37’E 

175,N, 10a 

BanThanasanghin (MVM) 

L 

18°05’N 

102°18’E 

180,N, 10a 

BanThaxoang (ULM) 

L 

19°49’N 

101°21’E 

300,N, 10b 

Ban Tonpheung (ULM) 

L 

20°18’N 

100°06’E 

365,N, 10b 

Ban Vang (ULM) 

L 

18°03’N 

101°51’E 

195,N, 10a 

BanViangkham (ULM) 

L 

20°14’N 

100°27’E 

330,N, 10b 

Ban Waan Noi, Mukdahan Prov. (MLM) 

T 

16°42’N 

104°46’E 

<150, C, 10a 

Ban Xiangkhok (ULM) 

L 

20°54’N 

100°39’E 

435, N, 10b 

Ban Xayfong (MVM) 

L 

17°48’N 

102°41’E 

155, N, 10a 

Bung Kan (Dist.), Nong Khai Prov. (MLM) 

T 

18°22’N 

103°40’E 

160,N, 10a 

Bung Khla (Dist.), Nong Khai Prov. (MLM) 

T 

18°18’N 

104°00’E 

160,N, 10a 

Chanuman (Dist.), Amnat Charoen Prov. (MLM) 

T 

16°13’N 

105°01’E 

<150, C, 10a 

Chiang Khan island, Chiang Khan Dist., Loei Prov. (ULM) 

T 

17°53’N 

101°38’E 

210, N, 10a 

Don Chan (ULM) 

L 

18°1 l’N 

102°03’E 

195,N, 10a 

Hat Sung, Khemmaraj Dist., Amnat Charoen Prov. (MLM) 

T 

15°59’N 

105°26’E 

135, S, 10a 

Jar site II (XKG) 

L 

19°19’N 

103°10’E 

1150, N, 10b 

Khong Chiam (Dist.) Ubon Ratchathani Prov. (MLM) 

T 

15°19’N 

105°31’E 

c. 100, S, 10a 

Lao-Thai bridge (MVM) 

L 

17°53’N 

102°43’E 

155,N, 10a 

Muang Pakbeng (ULM) 

L 

19°54’N 

101°09’E 

305,N, 10b 

Muang Xaisomboun (XSB); 2nd map name, Ban Mouang Cha 

L 

18°54’N 

103°06’E 

1120-1280,N, 10b 

Mukdahan (Dist., Prov.) (MLM) 

T 

16°33’N 

104°44’E 

<150, C, 10a 

Nakhon Phanom (Dist., Prov.) (MLM) 

T 

17°24’N 

104°48’E 

<150, C,10a 

Pakchom sandbar, Pakchom Dist., Loei Prov. (ULM) 

T 

18°02’N 

101°52’E 

c.200, N, 10a 

Pak Ou (ULM) 

L 

19°03’N 

102°13’E 

275, N, 10b 

Phou Gnouan (XKG) 

L 

19°25’N 

103°18’E 

1700-1825,N, 10b 

Phou Phadeng (ULM) 

L 

20°28’N, 

100°22’E 

1550,N, 10b 

Tha Uthen (Dist.), Nakhon Phanom Prov. (MLM) 

T 

17°34’N 104°37’E 

< 150, C, 10a 

That Phanom (Dist.), Nakhon Phanom Prov. (MLM) 

T 

16°57’N 

104°44’E 

<150, C, 10a 

Vat Xiangkhouan (MVM) 

L 

17°55’N 

102°46’E 

155, N, 10a 

Xaignabouli-Thai border (ULM) 

L/T 

17°50’N 

101°32’E 

210,N, 10a 


Key to columns 

Localities are placed within survey area: MLM = Middle Lao Mekong and adjacent Thai floodplain; MVM = Mekong of Vientiane 
Municipality; ULM = Upper Lao Mekong; XKG = Xiangkhouang; XSB = Muang Xaisomboun; ‘other’ = a variety of sites outside these 
regions. ‘Bank’ indicates whether the named point is in Thailand or Laos; bird records from Thai sites came from the Mekong channel. 

Coordinates: Thewlis et al. (1998) gave coordinates and altitudes for: Ban Houayxai (ULM), Ban Lak (20) (other). Ban Muangyo (other), 
Ban Namkeung-Kao (ULM), Ban Nasa (MVM), Ban Phonsavan (XKG), BanThadua (MVM), Champasak Province (other), Chiang 
Saen (ULM), Don Chuan (MVM), Dong Khanthung proposed NBCA (other), Lo-Tiao (ULM), Louang-Namtha town (other), 
Louangphabang town (ULM), Nam Chouan proposed NBCA (XKG), Nam Ngum reservoir (other), Nakai—NamTheun NBCA (other), 
Nakai Plateau (other), Nam Et NBCA (other), Nam Kading river (other), Nong Khai (MVM), Paklay (ULM), Paksang (ULM/MVM), 
Pakxan (other), Pakxe (other), Phongsali (other), Phou Bia (XSB), Phou Khaokhoay NBCA (other), Phou Louey NBCA (other), Plain of 
Jars (XKG), Salavan town (other), Savannakhet (other), Vientiane (MVM), Xam-Nua town (other), Xe Bang-Nouan NBCA (other), Xe 
Kong river (other), Xe Pian NBCA (other), Xiangkhouang town (XKG). 

Altitude + geographic subunit: The assignment to North, Central or South Laos for Thai sites reflects in which division lie the Lao parts 
of the channel at that point. The designation 10a or 10b is the classification used by MacKinnon and MacKinnon (1986). 







FORKTAIL 18 (2002): 45-48 


Raptor migration at Hoang Lien Nature Reserve, 

northern Vietnam 

ANDREW W. TORDOFF 


Between 13 and 25 October 1997, a total of 1,884 migrating raptors were recorded at Hoang 
Lien Nature Reserve, Lao Cai province, Vietnam. Although sporadic raptor migration records 
from Vietnam exist, a migration of this scale has never been previously recorded. Apart from the 
scale of the migration, another notable factor was the rarity of some of the species involved in 
northern Vietnam. The discovery of a previously unknown phenomenon of this size demonstrates 
the relative scarcity of basic information on the avifauna of Vietnam and highlights the need for 
further research. 


INTRODUCTION 

Hoang Lien Nature Reserve covers an area of 24,658 
ha in the Hoang Lien mountains, and is situated close 
to Cha Pa (Sa Pa) town, Lao Cai province, northern 
Vietnam (Fig. 1). At its closest point, the nature reserve 
is 30 km south of the Chinese border and contains 
Vietnam’s highest mountain, Fan Si Pan (3,143 m).The 
Hoang Lien mountains are a south-eastern extension 
of the Ailao Shan mountains inYunnan province, China, 
and run across north-westernVietnam, from north-west 
to south-east. They can, therefore, be considered to be 
an obstacle to migrating birds flying between their 
breeding grounds in north-eastern China and Korea, 
and their wintering grounds in South-East Asia, the 
Malay archipelago and East Africa. 

103°30’E 104°00'E 104°30'E 



Figure 1. Location of Hoang Lien Nature Reserve. 



Key:-Nature Reserve boundary i c.v- i Land above 2.000 m a s. 1 

/^S. River —500 m contour 

N 


0 km 5 km 

Figure 2. Hoang Lien Nature Reserve showing the location 
of the Tram Ton and O Quy Ho passes. 


During a 12-month survey in 1997 of Hoang Lien 
Nature Reserve by the environmental conservation 
NGO Frontier-Vietnam, autumn migration by raptors 
was observed. 


METHODS 

During the heaviest period of migration, on 13, 14 and 
15 October 1997, continuous daytime observations 
(between 06h00 and 18h30) were made from a vantage 
point at the Tram Ton pass (22°21’N 103°46’E, 
1,950 m). Between 16 and 25 October, observations 
were also made at the O Quy Ho pass (22°22’N 
103°48’E, 1,750 m), through which the migrants were 
believed to pass prior to crossing the Tram Ton pass 
(Fig. 2). During the latter period, observations were 
made for an average of five hours a day at the Tram Ton 
pass and two hours a day at the O Quy Ho pass. 

















46 


A. W. TORDOFF 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Both vantage points were directly beneath the 
migration flight path and afforded excellent views of 
migrants. The weather during the migration period was 
clear, visibility was excellent and most migrating raptors 
passed overhead at a height of under 100 m. 
Additionally, many birds circled for several minutes in 
order to gain height prior to crossing the Tram Ton pass. 
It was therefore possible to make accurate field 
identifications of most birds. 

Accurate recording of numbers of individuals was a 
greater challenge, however. During the heaviest period 
of the migration, birds passed between dawn and dusk, 
and there was a continual stream of birds overhead. 
Fortunately, most migrating flocks were strung out, 
allowing birds to be counted more easily. A team of three 
observers, working in relays and using binoculars, 
counted the birds as they passed a set of telegraph wires 
that, conveniently, stretched across the Tram Ton pass. 
As it was necessary to maintain an almost permanent 
watch, observations were recorded on a dictaphone and 
later transcribed. 


RESULTS 

Between 13 and 25 October 1997, a total of 1,752 
migrating raptors were recorded crossing the Tram Ton 
pass, including 1,401 Amur Falcons Falco amurensis, 110 
Grey-faced Buzzards Butastur indicus , 33 Eurasian 
Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus and 23 Oriental Honey- 
buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus. During the period 16 to 25 
October, a further 132 were observed at the O Quy Ho 
pass, including 64 Grey-faced Buzzards and 24 Eurasian 
Sparrowhawks. The heaviest days, in terms of numbers 
of migrants, were 13, 14 and 15 October, during which 
1,433 raptors (76% of the total) were recorded. After 25 
October, the main body of migrants had passed, although 
there were occasional records until 10 November. 

Observations suggest that the migrants flew south 
through the O Quy Ho pass before passing west through 
the narrower Tram Ton pass. The Tram Ton pass, which 
lies between Fan Si Pan mountain to the south and Ban 
Khoang mountain (2,819 m) to the north, is the lowest 
point in the Hoang Lien mountains south of the Chinese 
border, and represents a bottleneck in the migration 
route of any species crossing the Hoang Lien mountains. 

Raptor species 

Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus 
Eight birds were recorded at the Tram Ton pass at 18h00 
on 13 October, five at lOhOO on 14 October, and 10 at 
16h00 on 15 October. At the O Quy Ho pass, three 
birds were recorded at 08h00 on 16 October, and 10 at 
1 lhOO on 24 October. 

Black Kite Milvus migrans 

At 17h00 on 14 October three birds crossed the Tram 
Ton pass; a further six birds crossed at 17h00 on 15 
October; and one more at 08h00 on 19 October. Four 
birds were recorded at the O Quy Ho pass at 08h00 on 
16 October. 

Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos 

Seventeen Pied Harriers were recorded at the Tram Ton 
pass: two males at 17h00 on 13 October; one male at 
08h00 on 14 October; a flock of two males and four 


females at 16h00 on the same day; and eight birds on 
15 October, spread throughout the day. 

Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis 

Two males were recorded at the Tram Ton pass: one at 

14h00 on 13 October and one at 08h00 on the following 

day. 

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 
A total of 57 birds were recorded during the period from 
14 to 24 October. At theTramTon pass on 14, 15 and 22 
October, 2, 30 and 1 birds were recorded, respectively. 
Eighteen birds were recorded crossing the O Quy Ho 
pass on 24 October, and a further six birds crossed on 
the following day. From 29 October onwards, a further 
14 birds were recorded in and around Hoang Lien Nature 
Reserve, although it is thought that most of these were 
winter visitors to the area, not passage migrants. 

Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis 
At 08h00 on 15 October two females were recorded at 
theTramTon pass. At the O Quy Ho pass two females 
were recorded at 08h00 on 16 October, and a single 
male at 14h00 on 24 October. 

Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus 
A total of 174 Grey-faced Buzzards were recorded: 110 
crossed theTramTon pass from lOhOO onwards on 14 
October; 40 crossed the O Quy Ho pass at 08h00 on 16 
October; and 24 were recorded there at 13h00 on 24 
October. 

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo 

At 15h00 on 13 October a single bird crossed the Tram 
Ton pass. A further 20 birds crossed at approximately 
the same time on 15 October. Eleven birds were recorded 
crossing the O Quy Ho pass at 13h00 on 24 October. 

Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis 
Two birds crossed theTramTon pass on 15 October, 
and a single bird crossed on 23 October. At the O Quy 
Ho pass one bird was recorded on 26 October. It is not 
certain, however, that these birds were migrants, as Black 
Eagle is a resident at Hoang Lien Nature Reserve. 

Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga 
From 1 lhOO onwards on 24 October nine birds crossed 
the O Quy Ho pass. A further six birds were seen over 
Ta Phin village (22°24’N 103°51’E, 1,300 in) on 31 
October, and a single bird was seen at the same location 
on 2 November. The six Greater Spotted Eagles 
recorded by J. C. Eames and F. R. Lambert on 24 
October 1997 ( OBC Bulletin 27, From the Field) are 
the same birds as reported here. These records are 
notable because they represent the first of this species 
from West Tonkin (King et al. 197 5, J. C. Eames verbally). 
Furthermore, this species is listed as Vulnerable by 
BirdLife International (2001). 

Amur Falcon Falco amurensis 

Between 17h00 and dusk (c,18h00) on 13 October 23 
birds crossed theTramTon pass. One hundred and six 
birds crossed between 06h00 and 09h30 on 14 October, 
and 243 between 14h30 and 1 6h00 on the same day. 
On 15 October 720 birds crossed in a constant stream 
from dawn (c.06h00) until dusk. On 16 October 20 birds 
were observed flying between the O Quy Ho pass and 
theTramTon pass at 07h30. Between 16h00 and dusk 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


Raptor migration at Hoang Lien Nature Reserve, northern Vietnam 


47 


on 19 October 280 birds were observed crossing the 
Tram Ton pass. Eight birds crossed at 09h00 on 23 
October and one at 16h00. At the O Quy Ho pass two 
birds were recorded at 14h00 on 24 October and one at 
13h00 on 25 October. A single bird was seen flying over 
Ta Phin village on 2 November. The 240 Amur Falcons 
recorded by J. C. Eames and F. R. Lambert on 19 
October 1997 ( OBC Bulletin 27, From the Field) are 
probably the same birds as reported here. 

Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo 

At the Tram Ton pass on 15 October a single bird was 
observed amongst a flock of Amur Falcons. On 23 
October also at the Tram Ton pass, four juveniles were 
recorded. 

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 
After the period of the main migration, a single Peregrine 
Falcon, presumably a migrant, was observed over Ta 
Phin village on 2 November. 

Unidentified raptors 

A flock of 120 unidentified falcons Falco sp. crossed the 
Tram Ton pass between 17h00 and dusk (c.l8h00) on 
13 October; four unidentified juvenile falcons that 
crossed at 08h00 on the following day were possibly 
stragglers from the same flock. Due to poor light 
conditions, the identity of these birds could not be 
confirmed. In addition, at 17h00 on 17 October an 
unidentified Aquila sp. eagle crossed theTramTon pass. 

Other species 

During the period 13 to 25 October a number of other 
passage migrants were recorded, sometimes in large 
numbers. By far the most abundant was Barn Swallow 
Hirundo rustica , 1,800 of which were recorded on a single 
day. Other common migrants included Red-rumped 
Swallow H. daurica. 

One final record of interest is of four Woolly-necked 
Storks Ciconia episcopus that crossed the Tram Ton pass 
at high altitude at 17h30 on 13 October. This record is 
remarkable, given that it is the first recent one of the 
species from northern Indochina (Duckworth et al. 
1999, Robson 2000).There are historical records from 
Yen Bai and Bac Can provinces in northern Vietnam 
(Delacour and Jabouille 1931, Vo Quy 1975). There is 
also an old record from northern Laos: a single bird on 
the Plain of Jars, which was described as ‘probably off 
course’ (David-Beaulieu 1944).The species has not been 
recorded in China (Meyer de Schauensee 1994, 
MacKinnon and Phillipps 2000). It is not clear where 
the observed birds were coming from nor where they 
were headed to. 


DISCUSSION 

Timing of migration 

One of the most notable features of the raptor migration 
observed at Hoang Lien Nature Reserve was the 
temporal concentration of the migrants: 76% of 
migrating raptors passed through the nature reserve in 
a three-day period. It is probable that the main causal 
factor for this concentration was the weather. With 
respect to bird migrations at a site in north-eastern 
China, Williams et al. ( 1992) noted that waves of visible 
migration are sometimes recorded after the passage of 


cold fronts. These are precisely the conditions which 
prevailed in Hoang Lien Nature Reserve in October 
1997: the period from 9 to 13 October was cold and 
overcast with intermittent rainfall. On the afternoon of 
13 October the sky became clear, the temperature 
increased and the first large group of migrants (120 
unidentified falcons, 23 Amur Falcons and 17 Pied 
Harriers) passed at 17h00. 

The possibility that migrants were overlooked during 
the preceding cloudy days when visibility at the Tram 
Ton pass was very poor cannot be discounted. However, 
many of the larger raptors (such as Grey-faced Buzzard) 
were observed circling prior to crossing the Tram Ton 
pass, suggesting that they were reliant upon thermals in 
order to gain sufficient height to cross the 1,950-metre- 
high pass. Therefore, it seems more likely that migrants 
were unable to cross theTramTon pass while cold and 
overcast conditions prevailed and that numbers built 
up either east of the Tram Ton pass or north of the O 
Quy Ho pass until the adverse weather passed. 

Implications for the study of Amur Falcon 
migration 

‘The most striking migration pattern of all among the 
insect-eaters is perhaps found in the [Amur] Falcon’ 
(Alerstam 1990: 171). Amur Falcons breed in Siberia, 
eastern China and northern Korea, and winter in 
Zimbabwe and Botswana (Alerstam 1990). The 
migration is underway by September and goes via 
Burma, Bangladesh and India (Brace 1994). Departure 
from Africa begins before the end of February but little 
is known about the return route (Alerstam 1990). 

There have been a small number of other autumn 
records of this species from South-East Asia; for 
instance, several flocks, the largest of which numbered 
over 40 birds, were observed in Chiang Mai province, 
Thailand, between 30 October and 12 November 2000 
(OBC Bulletin 33, From the Field), and a single male 
was recorded at Mae Wong National Park, Thailand, on 
27 September 1999 {OBCBulletin 31, From the Field). 
However, none of these records were of flocks 
numbering more than a hundred birds. 

The records here represent only the third record of 
Amur Falcon from Vietnam. On 5 May 1995 C. Robson 
and U. Olson saw three at Lo Qui Ho (O Quy Ho pass) 
‘amongst other migrating raptors’ ( OBC Bulletin 22, 
From the Field). On 16 November 1995, J. C. Eames 
saw a single male at Xuan Thuy Nature Reserve 
(20°17’N 106°23’E) (J. C. Eames verbally). 

Subsequent to the records presented here, there have 
been three further records from Vietnam. On 4 
November 1999 J. W. Duckworth observed a male at 
Van Long proposed nature reserve (20°22’N 105°54’E), 
coasting low with some Common Kestrels Falco 
tinnunculus before gaining height and heading off to the 
south (J. W. Duckworth in litt.). On 21 October 2000 
four Amur Falcons were observed crossing the Tram 
Ton pass (author’s own data). On 30 March 2002 a 
flock of 112 Amur Falcons was observed over Van Ban 
town (20°05’N 104°15’E), 50 km south-east of theTram 
Ton pass (Tordoff et al. 2002). 

Given that Hoang Lien Nature Reserve has been 
the focus of relatively large amounts of ornithological 
study compared with other sites in northern Vietnam, 
it is perhaps surprising that a migration of this 
magnitude should not have been recorded by past 



48 


A. W. TORDOFF 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


ornithological expeditions to the area. It is possible that 
the migration observed in autumn 1997 was not a 
regular event but that the migrants were displaced from 
their usual route by unusual meteorological conditions. 
However, it is more probable that the migration was 
previously overlooked, in part because many earlier 
expeditions visited the area in winter, including 
Delacour’s fifth expedition to Indochina (November and 
December 1929: Delacour 1930) the Kelley-Roosevelts 
expedition to Indochina (February 1929; Bangs and van 
Tyne 1931) and Bjorkegren’s second expedition to 
Indochina (December 1938 and February 1939: Eames 
and Ericson 1996). Moreover, the Amur Falcon record 
from the Tram Ton pass in October 2000 indicates that 
the autumn raptor migration observed at Hoang Lien 
Nature Reserve may be a regular event. 

It is reasonably well established that the southbound 
route of migrating Amur Falcons includes South-East 
Asia. For instance, David-Beaulieu (1944) reported that 
the species was a fairly regular passage migrant through 
northern Laos in October. However, the return flight 
path is not well established. Alerstam (1990) mentions 
an observation of a flock of migrating Amur Falcons 
passing Mecca in April which suggests a return route 
north of the Himalayas, crossing Arabia and Central 
Asia. However, records from Thailand in April (Brace 
1994) and Laos in May (Davidson 1998) suggest that 
at least some of the returning migrants pass through 
South-East Asia. 

The returning Amur Falcons observed at Hoang 
Lien Nature Reserve in May ( OBC Bulletin 22, From 
the Field) and at Van Ban town in March (Tordoff et al. 
2002) indicate that the spring migration route through 
South-East Asia encompasses Vietnam. However, no 
records of returning migrants were made during the 
spring of 1998 by the Frontier-Vietnam survey (although 
no fieldwork was conducted during the period 15 March 
to 3 April 1998). 

Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) state that the 
entire global population of Amur Falcon winters in sub- 
Saharan Africa. Consistent with this is the fact that there 
have been no records of the species from South-East 
Asia during the period from December to February. 
However, given the relatively low level of knowledge 
about the species, the possibility that a minority of Amur 
Falcons winter in South-East Asia cannot be ruled out. 


CONCLUSIONS 

The Tram Ton pass in Hoang Lien Nature Reserve 
appears to be a bottleneck for the autumn migration of 
raptors through northern Vietnam. The timing of 
movements through the pass seems to be determined 
by prevailing weather conditions, particularly the 
movement of a cold front. 

The raptor migration records described in this paper 
serve only to highlight the existence of this phenomenon 
in northern Vietnam. Further research is required in 
order to determine, first, whether autumn raptor 


migrations are a regular event and, second, the scale on 
which returning migrants pass through Hoang Lien 
Nature Reserve. 


This work was carried out on the Frontier-Vietnam Forest Research 
Programme, which is a collaboration between the Society for Envi¬ 
ronmental Exploration and the Institute of Ecology and Biological 
Resources, Hanoi.The data were collected by Steven Swan, Andrew 
Tordoff and Stuart Williams. The author would like to thank Jonathan 
C. Eames of the BirdLife International Vietnam Programme, Dr 
Frank Lambert of the Kerinci Seblat National Park Integrated Con¬ 
servation and Development Project, and Dr Damon Stanwell-Smith 
of the Society for Environmental Exploration for their comments on 
the first draft of this paper. 


REFERENCES 

Alerstam, T. (1990) Bird Migration. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge 
University Press. 

Bangs, O. and van Tyne, J. (1931) Birds of the Kelley-Roosevelts 
expedition to French Indo-china. Publ. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. (Zool. 
Ser.) 18: 33-119. 

BirdLife International (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife 
International Red Data Book. Cambridge, U.K.: BirdLife Inter¬ 
national. 

Brace, R. C. (1994) Sightings of Amur Falcon Falco amurensis in 
northern Thailand. OBC Bulletin 19: 57-58. 

David-Beaulieu, A. (1944) Les oiseaux du Tranninh. Hanoi: Universite 
Indochinoise. 

Davidson, P. ed. (1998) A wildlife and habitat survey of Nam Et and 
Phou Louey National Biodiversity Conservation Areas, Houaphanh 
province, Lao PDR. Vientiane: Wildlife Conservation Society and 
the Centre for Protected Areas and Watershed Management. 

Delacour, J. (1930) On the birds collected during the fifth expedi¬ 
tion to French Indochina. Ibis 6: 564-599. 

Delacour, J. and Jabouille, P. (1931) Les oiseaux de I’Indochine frangaise, 
I to IV. Paris: Exposition Coloniale Internationale. 

Duckworth, J. W., Salter, R. E. and Ivhounboline, K. (1999) Wildlife 
in Lao PDR: 1999 status report. Vientiane: IUCN, Wildlife Con¬ 
servation Society and the Centre for Protected Areas and Water¬ 
shed Management. 

Eames, J. C. and Ericson, P. G. P. (1996) The Bjorkegren expedi¬ 
tions to French Indochina: a collection of birds from Vietnam 
and Cambodia. Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam. Soc. 44: 75-11 1. 

Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D. A. (2001) Raptors of the world. 
London: Christopher Helm. 

King, B. F., Dickinson, E. C. and Woodcock, M. W. (1975) Birds of 
South-East Asia. London: HarperCollins. 

MacKinnon, J. and Phillipps, K. (2000) A field guide to the birds of 
China. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Meyer de Schauensee, R. (1984) The birds of China. Washington D.C.: 
Smithsonian Institution Press. 

Robson, C. (2000) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. Lon¬ 
don: New Holland. 

Tordoff, A. W., Le Manh Hung, Nguyen Quang Truong and Swan, 
S. R. (2002) A rapid field survey of Van Ban district, Lao Cai 
province, Vietnam. Unpublished report to the BirdLife Interna- 
tionalVietnam Programme and the Institute of Ecology and Bio¬ 
logical Resources. 

Vo Quy (1975) [Birds of Vietnam], vol. I. Hanoi: Science and Tech¬ 
nics Publishing House. (In Vietnamese.) 

Williams, M. D., Carey, G. J., Duff, D. G. and Xu Weishu (1992) 
Autumn bird migration at Beidaihe, China, 1986-1990. Forktail 
7: 3-55. 


AndrewW. Tordoff, Society for Environmental Exploration, 77 Leonard St, London, EC2A 4QS, U.K. Correspondence and 
present address: BirdLife International Vietnam Programme, 11 Lane 167, Tay Son, Hanoi, Vietnam. Email: 
jack@birdlife.netnam.vn 




FORKTAIL 18 (2002): 49-61 


Birds of GunungTambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia: 
effects of altitude, the 1815 cataclysmic volcanic 

eruption and trade 

COLIN R. TRAINOR 


In June-July 2000, a 10-day avifaunal survey on GunungTambora (2,850 m, site of the greatest 
volcanic eruption in recorded history), revealed an extraordinary mountain with a rather ordinary 
Sumbawan avifauna: low in total species number, with all species except two oriental montane 
specialists (Sunda Bush Warbler Cettia vulcania and Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophrys ) 
occurring widely elsewhere on Sumbawa. Only 11 of 19 restricted-range bird species known for 
Sumbawa were recorded, with several exceptional absences speculated to result from the eruption. 
These included: Flores Green Pigeon Treron floris, Russet-cappedTesia Tesia everetti, Bare-throated 
Whistler Pachycephala nudigula , Flame-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia Solaris, Yellow-browed White- 
eye Lophozosterops superciliaris and Scaly-crowned Honeyeater Lichmera lombokia. All 11 resticted- 
range species occurred at 1,200-1,600 m, and ten were found above 1,600 m, highlighting the 
conservation significance of hill and montane habitat. Populations of the Yellow-crested Cockatoo 
Cacatua sulphurea, Hill Myna Gracula religiosa, Chestnut-backed Thrush Zoothera dohertyi and 
Chestnut-capped Thrush Zoothera interpres have been greatly reduced by bird trade and hunting 
in theTambora Important Bird Area, as has occurred through much of Nusa Tenggara. 


‘In its fury, the eruption spared, of the inhabitants, not a 
single person, of the fauna, not a worm, of the flora, not a 
blade of grass’ - Francis (1831) in de Jong Boers (1995), 
referring to the 1815Tambora eruption. 

INTRODUCTION 

The 1815 eruption of the GunungTambora volcano 
(2,850 m, c.1,200 km 2 , 8°16’S 117°58’E), Sumbawa, 
Indonesia, caused a natural disturbance without equal 
in recorded history. An estimated 80-150 km 3 of volcanic 
material was released (the approximate equivalent to 
16,000 Hiroshima bombs or eight times greater than 
the 1883 Krakatau eruptio: de Jong Boers 1995, van 
Oosterzee 1997). The eruption started on April 5, and 
was punctuated by violent explosions, heard throughout 
Indonesia. At Solo (East Java), about 1,000 km to the 
west, it was reported on April 14 that the ‘explosions 
were extremely violent.... and resembled the discharge 
of mortars’ (de Jong Boers 1995). The eruption was 
also audible on Borneo. Gunung Tambora may have 
been the highest mountain in South-East Asia, but 
following several weeks of violent activity, it was reduced 
from about 4,200 m to 2,850 m (de Jong Boers 1995). 
Twenty-six of an estimated 10,000 people living in the 
Tambora area survived, with a total of about 130,000 
people killed on Sumbawa, Lombok and Bali (de Jong 
Boers 1995, van Oosterzee 1997). Subsequently, the year 
1816 became known in Europe and America as the year 
without a summer: up to 40 km 3 of dust and ash entered 
the upper atmosphere, causing global cooling, summer 
snowstorms and crop failures (van Oosterzee 1997). 

The aftermath 

In 1819 theTambora area was described as a moonscape: 
‘the ground was still full of cracks and fissures and 
covered with ash, pumice and tree trunks’, although in 


other places some vegetation had re-established (Vetter 
1820 quoted in de Jong Boers 1995). Nine years after 
the eruption the former kingdoms of Tambora and 
Papekat [Pekat] at the base ofTambora were described 
as a ‘desolate heap of rubble’ (Schelle andTobius 1824 
in de Jong Boers 1995). Sixteen years later there was a 
‘horrendous scene of devastation’, although Francis 
(1831 quoted in de Jong Boers 1995) observed a few 
trees on the lower slopes. In 1847 the mountain was 
still largely stripped of vegetation; the slopes were bare 
above 2,100 m, but Casuarina forest was noted at 2,200 
m to 2,550 m (Zollinger 1855). In 1933 Koster and de 
Voogd described habitat from the lowlands to the peak 
beginning with ‘fairly barren, dry and hot country’, then 
they entered a ‘mighty jungle of Dnabanga moluccana ’ 
with‘huge, majestic forest giants’ (de Jong Boers 1995). 
At 1,100 m they entered a montane forest with ‘...a 
multitude of thin stems’. As they progressed they 
reached stinging nettles, giant reeds and climbing ferns. 
Above 1,800 m, they noted a Dodonaea viscosa- 
dominated shrubland with Casuarina trees. On the 
summit they saw ‘barren slopes covered with loose 
stones’ with sparse Edelweiss and Wahlenbergia, and 
viewed a 6 km wide crater. 

The extent to which habitat was directly destroyed 
on Tambora is largely unknown. De Voogd doubted 
whether the huge Dnabanga moluccana trees he saw in 
1933 could have regenerated and reached such size in 
little over 100 years (de Jong Boers 1995).The eruption 
severely affected forest throughout Sumbawa. In 1847 
Zollinger observed that ‘many places [that] formerly had 
a thick covering of vegetation are now blanketed with 
ash or only have a thin layer of plant growth'. He noted 
extensive alang-alang Imperata cylindrica grasslands in 
formerly forested areas (Zollinger 1855). 

Although details of the geology, chemistry, petrology 
and geomorphology have been obtained, and 
information on demographic changes, agriculture and 



50 


COLIN R.TRAINOR 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


land-use changes have been described (see Heyckendorf 
and Jung 1992, de Jong Boers 1995 for references), 
effectively nothing is known of the impact of the eruption 
on the fauna. At least one anecdote exists: ‘small birds 
lying dead on the ground’ were noted on 12 April 1815 
at Makassar, Sulawesi, 400 km to the north ofTambora, 
having been killed prior to the main eruption (de Jong 
Boers 1995). Presumably the avifauna on the mountain 
was extirpated, and the current composition is a result 
of immigration mostly from elsewhere on Sumbawa, 
Lombok and nearby islands in NusaTenggara. 

The island of Sumbawa 

Sumbawa, at 15,400 km", is the largest island in the 
West Nusa Tenggara province and the second largest 
after Timor in the biogeographic unit of the Lesser 
Sundas (FAO/UNDP 1982). It is part of the Inner 
Volcanic Arc (a chain of young volcanic islands, from 
Sumatra in the west to the Banda islands in the east), 
and originally evolved from volcanism c.4 million years 
ago. Biologically, Sumbawa is closely related to Flores. 
The island is irregularly shaped (280 km long, 20-100 
km wide) and mountainous. Sumbawa is predominantly 
volcanic, with a limited extent of uplifted limestone in 
coastal areas, although one major offshore island (Moyo 
Island, 330 km 2 ) is limestone. The south of Sumbawa is 
made up of old volcanic hills and low mountains to about 
1,900 m; as on Flores, landscapes in the east and north 
of Sumbawa are dominated by active volcanoes (FAO/ 
UNDP 1982). Two additional islands of importance, 
Satonda and Sangeang, are both volcanic. 

The Sumbawa lowlands have a very seasonal rainfall 
pattern, with annual totals less than 1,000 mm/year, 
while the mountains, especially in the south-west, 
probably have greater than 3,500 mm/year (Monk et al. 
1997, K. Martin verbally 2000).The wet season occurs 
mainly from November to March, and the dry season 
from April to October (RePPProT 1989). Sumbawa 
occurs in the West Nusa Tenggara Province (including 
Lombok, Sumbawa, Moyo and Sangeang Island).There 
are three regencies ( kabupaten ) on Sumbawa, which are 
based on cultural boundaries (old kingdoms). Sumbawa 
regency in the west includes management of Moyo 
island; Dompu in the centre includes about half of the 
Sanggar Peninsula (including theTambora volcano) and 
Satonda, and Bima in the east includes part the northern 
portion of the Sanggar Peninsula and Sangeang. 

Overview of birds inWest NusaTenggara 

The province of West Nusa Tenggara has a relatively 
poor bird fauna with 254 species, including 185 
residents, 57 migrants and 12 vagrants. Sumbawa is 
about three times larger than Lombok and has 


substantially greater forest cover (c.40% versus c.10%) 
yet it has only 168 resident species compared to 140 on 
Lombok (White and Bruce 1986, Coates and Bishop 
1997, C. R.Trainor unpublished data). For comparison, 
the total species complement for Flores is about 260 
species and for Timor about 240 species (White and 
Bruce 1986, Coates and Bishop 1997).The composition 
of the Sumbawan avifauna and that of other West Nusa 
Tenggara islands is shown in Table 1. 

Ornithological history onTambora 

In 1896 Alfred Everett visited Tambora and collected 
59 bird species, including the type of Crested White- 
eye Lophozosterops dohertyi (reported in Hartert 1896). 
Twelve species were noted during natural resource 
assessments in 1981 (Beudels and Liman 1981).White 
and Bruce (1986) listed the Island Monarch Monarcha 
cinerascens , for Tambora, though presumably this record 
is erroneous, and referable to the Everett record for 
adjacent Satonda Island. Klub Indonesia Hijau (KIH), 
an Indonesian nature conservation club, undertook an 
expedition to Gunung Tambora from 16 August to 9 
September 1993, reliably listing about 35 species (KIH 
1993). Also in September 1993, P. Jepson and S. Schmitt 
spent several days birding, with limited reporting of these 
observations in Johnstone et al. (1996) and Coates and 
Bishop (1997). Setiawan (1996) undertook surveys for 
the Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea near 
Labuan Kenanga in October-December 1994. Butchart 
et al. (1996) recommended field surveys ofTambora to 
better understand its relative importance for key birds 
and habitats. 


METHODS 

Ornithological surveys were undertaken on Tambora 
over a total of 10 days during 9-14 June and 2-4 July 
2000, as part of an island-wide assessment to identify 
key site priorities for the conservation of globally 
restricted-range and threatened bird species. Birds were 
recorded aurally and visually by the author, and in the 
June survey by the author and D. Lesmana (DL), 
BirdLife International-Indonesia Programme. The 
survey targeted closed-canopy forest; however, large 
expanses of savanna in the lowlands were also given 
priority, including observations in several unusual 
geological formations associated with the Tambora 
volcano (Table 2).These latter formations included the 
adventive craters of Doro Peti and Doro Ncanga (see 
Heyckendorf and Jung 1992); another adventive crater 
(Pulau Satonda) was visited briefly, but results are not 
included here. 


Table 1. A summary of the bird composition inWest NusaTenggara. 


Island 

Resident 

Migrant 

Vagrant 

Non-passerine 

Passerine 

Total 

Lombok 

140 

32 

4 

115 

59 

174 

Gili Islands 

0 

11 

2 

13 

0 

13 

Sumbawa 

168 

47 

6 

148 

73 

221 

Moyo 

64 

22 

2 

66 

22 

88 

Satonda 

31 

3 

i 

28 

7 

35 

Sangeang 

35 

3 

0 

23 

15 

38 

Panjang 

5 

2 

2 

8 

1 

9 

Total for West NusaTenggara 

185 

57 

12 

171 

83 

254 







Forktail 18 (2002) 


Birds of GunungTambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia 


51 


Table 2. Survey localities, altitude and habitat type (see Methods for definitions). 


Site no. Site name 

Coordinates 

Altitude (m) 

Person-hrs 

Habitat 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

1 

Site 1 

8°27’00S 118"06’00E 

0-100 

4 

• 

2 

Site 2 

8°27’00S 118°03’30E 

0-100 

3 

• 

3 

Site 3 

8°27’00S 118°01’00E 

100 

1 

• 

4 

Site 4 

8°26’30S 117°59’00E 

100 

1 

• 

5 

Site 5 

8°25’10S 117°56’30E 

100 

1 

• 

6 

Doro Ncanga 

8°27’00S 117°58’30E 

0-100 

2 

• 

7 

Doro Peti 

8“22’00S 117"49’50E 

0-100 

2 

• 

8 

Labuan Kenanga 

8°08’30S 117°46’00E 

0-100 

3 

• 

9 

Latonda 

8°12’30S 117°45’00E 

250 

3 

• 

10 

Sorinomo 

8”1 5’45S 117°48’30E 

350 

2 

• 

11 

Veneer Products Road 

8“13’30S 117°47’00E 

400 

2 

• 

12 

Tambora 1 

8°13’00S 117°47’00E 

400-800 

4 

• 

13 

Tambora 2 

8°16’00S 117°53’00E 

800-1200 

10 

• 

14 

Tambora 3 

8°16’00S 117°54’00E 

1,201-1,600 

12 

• 

15 

Tambora 4 

8°14’00S 117°55’00E 

1,600-2,000 

12 

• 

16 

Tambora 5 

8°15’00S 117"56’30E 

2,001-2,400 

6 

• • 

17 

Tambora 6 

8°15’30S 117°57’30E 

2,401-2,850 

4 

• 


A total of 17 geographically independent sites were 
surveyed each with 1-12 person hours (Table 2). Survey 
effort was considered adequate to record the majority 
of resident bird species at each site. 

Conventions 

Habitat type follows Monk et al. (1997). Avian 
nomenclature follows Inskipp etal. (1996). Bird species 
were subjectively categorised as resident or non-resident/ 
migrant, and as forest or non-forest dependent based 
on known habitat fidelity (Coates and Bishop 1997). 
Restricted-range birds are those with a total global 
breeding range of 50,000 km or less (Stattersfield et al. 
1998). In this paper lowland is defined as land below 
800 m and montane as land above 800 m. 

Habitats sampled 

1. Savanna and grassland: sea level to 200+ m, a highly 
variable serai habitat regenerating after the 1815 
eruption, frequent fires and stock grazing. Grassland 
dominated by Themeda triandra and Heteropogon 
contortus is extensive on flat plains below scattered 
Ziziphus mauritania. In geographically protected 
sites, such as old lava flows, a gallery forest with 
clumps of Ficus sp., Timonius tirnon, Ceiba pentandra, 
Ziziphus and Terminalia cattapa (10-25 m) has 
developed. 

2. Tropical dry deciduous forest: at sea level to 200+ 
m, closed-canopy forest from 10-15 m with 
numerous deciduous tree species ( Ziziphus , 
Gyrocarpus and Schleichera ) and high siam weed 
Chromalaena odorata cover to 3 m. 

3. Tropical moist deciduous forest: at 250 m (Latonda), 
a dense closed forest (60-80% cover) to 25 m with 
Ficus sp. and Schleichera oleosa, and high density of 
vines. 

4. Logged lowland evergreen rainforest: from 350- 
1,100 m, dominated by Duabanga moluccana and 
Caboola 30-60 m tall, with 20-40% canopy cover, 
dense ground cover of ferns, weeds, shrubs and 
saplings. 


5. Primary lowland evergreen rainforest: from about 
1,200-1,600 m, a tall closed-canopy forest dominated 
by Duabanga , Ficus, Calophyllum sp. (60-80% canopy 
cover) with numerous epiphytes, lianas, palms, 
rattan, ferns, seedlings and saplings. 

6. Lower montane forest: from 1,600-2,300 m, an open 
forest (10-30% canopy cover) dominated by 
Casuarina junghuhniana (to 35 m at lower elevation 
limits, to 10-15 m at upper limits), with tree and 
other ground ferns, and abundant stinging nettles 
Girardinia palmata and Urtica bullata. 

7. Dodonaea viscosa shrubland: from 2,100-2,800 m a 
shrubland to 3 m is dominant especially in gullies, 
occasionally with a Casuarina overstorey. Soil, gravel 
and rocks are dominant above c.2,600 m. 


SELECTED ANNOTATED LIST 

This list concentrates on key bird species (globally 
threatened and restricted-range), forest birds, and 
savanna birds. Previous notable records are briefly 
mentioned, while the Appendix gives a complete list. 
Localities given as kilometres are road distances from 
Bima in East Sumbawa (given on Peta Rupabumi 
topographic map series). 

Green Junglefowl Galius varius 

Frequently observed in low numbers in coastal savannas, 
and in forest up to 2,000 m. One male was snared by 
local people at Sorinomo on 4 July 2000 and purchased 
by a bird trader for Rp 20,000 (c.$US 2.50). 

White-rumped Kingfisher Caridonax fulgidus 
Restricted-range 

Rare or uncommon in coastal savanna where heard once 
at Site 1, and several times in moist deciduous forest 
behind Latonda. Uncommon in montane forest with at 
least one calling atTambora 4; unrecorded atTambora 
3 and uncommon in selectively harvested Duabanga 
forest atTambora 2. Hartert (1896) indicated that this 










52 


COLIN R. TRAINOR 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


bird was common from the lowlands to about 900 m. A 
common forest species on Sumbawa and Flores 
(Butchart et al. 1996,Trainor and Lesmana 2000). 

Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus 
Common in the lower montane forest from 1,200-2,000 
m, where its familiar puu-puu calls were frequently 
heard. Individuals were also occasionally observed at 
Tambora 2, 3, and 4 perched high in the canopy. 
Reported at 900 m by Hartert (1896). 

Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus forsteni 
One of six endemic subspecies on Sumbawa and 
associated islands, the forsteni population on Tambora 
appears to be significant with pairs and threes frequently 
observed or heard from 500-2,000 m (about 6-10 
individual contacts/day), probably most frequently at 
Tambora 3 with seven contacts in a three-hour period. 
Regarded as uncommon to moderately common on 
Sumbawa by Johnstone et al. (1996), but rare according 
to Butchart et al. (1996). 

Moluccan Scops Owl Otus magicus 
Recorded only at Tambora 2 in degraded Duabanga 
forest where it vocalised more than seven times. Two 
were collected from the lowlands (Flartert 1896). 

Wallace’s Scops Owl Otus silvicola 
Restricted-range 

Restricted to Sumbawa and Flores; on Tambora this 
species vocalised at 1,080 m (frequent), 1,280 m 
(frequent, called seven times between 19h00 and 21h00 
with rrow notes repeated 1-3, but mostly four times), 
1,680 m and 2,100 m, in severely logged Duabanga and 
unlogged Duabanga forest. Both Johnstone et al. (1996) 
and Butchart et al. (1996) found this owl to be rare on 
Sumbawa. 

Island Collared Dove Streptopelia bitorquata 
Locally common in grassy savannas, with observations 
of small flocks feeding along the road at Site 1 and Doro 
Peti. 

Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 

Frequent to abundant in grassy savanna (0-500 m) with 

loose flocks of 5-20 observed feeding along the road, 

including the villages of Calabai (near Latonda), 

Sorinomo, Pancasila (8°13’S 117°47’E) and Labuan 

Kenanga. Reported from the ‘low country’ by Hartert 

(1896). 

Little Cuckoo Dove Macropygia ruficeps 
Occasional from the coast to at least 1,900 m, usually 
singly or as pairs, in flight through the canopy. At 
Tambora 3 one individual roosted at dusk in the cavity 
of a massive birds-nest fern Asplenium nidus (where it 
was possibly nesting); three flew through degraded 
coastal forest at Labuan Kenanga; singles or pairs were 
observed in coastal savanna at Site 1 and 2; and three 
singles were observed at Sorinomo. Commonly observed 
by Beudels and Liman (1981). Everett collected a male 
and female at 900 m, and an immature from the 
lowlands (Hartert 1896). 


Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata 

This dove was common in savanna, but absent from 
semi-evergreen forest and habitats above 500 m. 

Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans 
Locally common in savanna and logged Duabanga 
forest. Singles to groups of ten were observed at Site 1 
in Ziziphus shrubland with scattered Ficus (0-100 m 
elevation, a total of c.30 individuals in three hours). A 
soft warr vocalisation was heard. Two individuals were 
observed at Sorinomo in logged forest (300 m, 6 July 
2000). Green pigeons Treron sp. were regarded as 
common by Beudels and Liman (1981), and a series 
was collected from ‘the low country’ Hartert (1896). 

Black-backed Fruit Dove Ptilinopus cinctus 
Frequent in semi-evergreen and montane forest from 
700-2,000 m, but absent below about 500 m. At 
Tambora 4 small groups were notably confiding as they 
fed in the tall canopy of fruiting trees (probably 
indicating low hunting pressure). Singles were observed 
at Tambora 3 and many singles or small flocks (up to 
four individuals) were observed flying between 45 m 
tall Duabanga trees at Tambora 2. Also frequently heard 
in selectively harvested Duabanga forest (700 m). Noted 
at 900 m by Everett (Hartert 1896). 

Black-naped Fruit Dove Ptilinopus melanospila 
Uncommon or mostly absent from coastal savannas, 
with a pair observed in a Terminalia cattapa tree above a 
spring at Site 1; also heard inside the Doro Peti crater. 
Common in semi-evergreen forest from 300-800 m, 
including highly degraded forest at Sorinomo, and 
selectively harvested Duabanga forest along the PT 
Veneer Products road. 

Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 
Scarce in coastal savanna, with a single seen (and several 
heard calling) at Site 1, and several observed at Doro 
Peti and Labuan Kenanga (the latter in degraded beach 
forest). Frequent in degraded semi-evergreen forest at 
Sorinomo and the PT Veneer Products track (300- 
600 m). 

Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon Ducula lacernulata 
Restricted-range 

Frequent in heavily logged Duabanga forest (1,000- 
1,200 m), as well as unlogged Duabanga mixed rainforest 
and seasonal montane forest dominated by Casuarina 
junghuhniana up to 2,000 m. It was observed feeding in 
tall (50-60 m) Duabanga trees near Tambora 3. This 
species is intensely hunted throughout its range. It is 
distributed from Java to Flores, but the NusaTenggara 
endemic subspecies sasakensis is restricted to Lombok, 
Sumbawa and Flores, with recent calls for a status review 
because of differences in its plumage and vocalisations, 
and because of the degree of geographic isolation 
(Butchart et al. 1996). It was considered relatively 
common above about 800-1,000 m by Butchart et al. 
(1996) and Johnstone et al. (1996). 

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus 
Uncommon in grassy savannas, with four singles either 
hovering or perched on small trees at Sites 2, 3 and 5 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


Birds of GunungTambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia 


53 


(at the latter site one was seen eating a large Mabuya sp. 
skink while perched on a dead tree branch), and one 
near Pekat (5 km south of Calabai) on 4 July 2000. 

Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus 
A single was observed by DL as it flew through the 
canopy of degraded Duabanga forest at 1,100 m at Site 
1 on 13 June 2000. 

Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus 
The taxonomic status of the Nusa Tenggara endemic 
ra cefloris is currently the subject of study, and this taxon 
will possibly be raised to a full species (J. Gjershaug 
verbally 2001). A single first-year individual was observed 
at 800 m perched on an exposed branch of a dead tree 
next to the PT Veneer Products logging track (at ‘km 21’ 
from Calabai on 14 June 2000). It sat silently on the 
branch for several minutes allowing good views of its pale 
head, neck and chest, and then flew into adjacent forest. 
There are few recent records of this species on Sumbawa 
apart from the vicinity of Batu Dulang, Batu Hijau and 
Tatar-Sepang (all in south-west Sumbawa: Martin and 
Barclay 1996, Grantham 2000, Jepson et al. 2001), and 
it has been considered scarce or rare (Butchart et al. 1996, 
Johnstone et al. 1996).The status, distribution and habitat 
requirements of this taxon are poorly known in Nusa 
Tenggara. It has a restricted range, occurs at low 
population density and is selectively targeted by hunters 
for the cagebird trade as well as for stuffed specimens 
(Trainor and Lesmana 2000). 

Spotted Kestrel Falco moluccensis 
Uncommon in lowland savanna and grassland (one over 
a rice field at Latonda and one near Doro Ncanga), but 
several observed daily in semi-evergreen forest from 500- 
2,000 m. 

Elegant Pitta Pitta elegans 

Occasional in coastal savannas, where recorded in dry 
deciduous forest, degraded riparian forest and moist 
deciduous forest (0-300 m). More common in semi¬ 
evergreen and montane forest up to at least 1,200 m. 

Brown Honeyeater Lichmera indistincta 
Uncommon and local in coastal savanna, abundant in 
semi-evergreen, montane forest and Dodonaea 
shrubland up to about 2,400 m. Local and sporadically 
distributed in NusaTenggara (Coates and Bishop 1997). 

Helmeted Friarbird Philemon buceroides 
Occasional in coastal savannas with patches of monsoon 
forest, but particularly common in semi-evergreen forest 
from 800-1,200 m. Recorded in the ‘low country’ by 
Everett (Hartert 1896). 

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 
Uncommon and local with three records from coastal 
savannas: a single at Sites 1 (2 July 2000), three at Site 
3 on the same date, and two at Site 2. 

Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis 

Frequent in coastal savannas, and degraded Duabanga 

forest from 500-800 m. 


Wallacean Cuckooshrike Coracina personata 
This Wallacean endemic was uncommon and local in 
montane and semi-evergreen forest. Several were calling 
at Site 3 on 10 June 2000, and one the following day 
(giving the typical plee-urk call), but found to be frequent 
in degraded Duabanga forest at 700 m. A male and 
female were collected from the lowlands by Everett 
(Hartert 1896). 

White-shouldered Triller Lalage sueurii 
Frequently recorded in coastal savanna (0-100 m) but 
uncommon in highly degraded semi-evergreen forest 
at Sorinomo. Reported from the lowlands to 900 m 
(Hartert 1896). 

Flores Minivet Pericrocotus lansbergei 
Restricted-range 

Frequent in the canopy of montane and semi-evergreen 
forest from 350-2,000 m, but scarcer in coastal savanna 
with patches of serai forest. At Site 1, minivets were 
observed in the canopy of Terminalia cattapa. Present in 
dry deciduous forest at Doro Ncanga and Doro Peti 
(0-100 m). Considered rare to frequent at various sites 
by Butchart et al. (1996) and Johnstone et al. (1996). 

Brown-capped Fantail Rliipidura diluta 
Restricted-range 

Widespread from sea level to at least 2,000 m, but most 
common in Duabanga and montane forest from 500- 
1,800 m. In coastal savannas it was recorded adjacent 
to a spring at sea level, in mangroves, dry deciduous 
forest and a shrubland dominated by extensive grass 
cover. Common in forest (Butchart et al. 1996, 
Johnstone et al. 1996). 

Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus 
This species was widespread and generally common in 
coastal savanna, especially dry deciduous forest, and also 
Duabanga and montane forest. 

Chestnut-capped Thrush Zoothera inter pres 
A single bird vocalised in moist deciduous forest at 
Latonda (300 m, 3 July 2000). Recorded by Everett at 
600 m (Hartert 1896). 

Chestnut-backed Thrush Zoothera dohertyi 
Restricted-range 

The song of this species was heard infrequently at 800- 
1,600 m, with sightings by DL in a gully in primary 
Duabanga forest atTambora 3. One captured by trappers 
at Sorinomo. Considered locally common to rare in 
Sumbawan forest by Butchart et al. (1996) and 
Johnstone et al. (1996). 

Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophrys 
Local and occasional in mixed lower montane forest 
from 1,200-1,400 m on Tambora, with several 
individuals observed at Tambora 3 on lianas close to 
the ground (13 June 2000).They gave a single or double 
tack call. This species is apparently restricted to Tambora 
on Sumbawa, but also occurs on Lombok, Timor and 
possibly Alor in Nusa Tenggara (Coates and Bishop 
1997). Everett took specimens at 900 m, with Hartert 



54 


COLIN R. TRAINOR 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


(1896) noting the great variety of plumage colour of 
the specimens. 

Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra 
Occasional in montane forest habitat from 1,400-1,900 
m, with several observations of singles in unlogged lower 
montane forest on Tambora in understorey to 4 m. 
‘Frequently met with in the hills of Tambora at about 
3000 ft [900 m]’ (Hartert 1896). 

Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni 
Occasional in the understorey and subcanopy of lower 
montane forest. Several singles were observed perching 
on bare Casuarina branches (6-18 m above ground, 
1,600 m), with Hartert (1896) reporting them from 
900 m. 

Short-tailed Starling Aplonis minor 
Local and uncommon in semi-evergreen forest from 
near Pancasila (550-650 m) including a flock of ten on 
the dead upper branches of a Duabanga tree in selectively 
logged forest. Three were observed along the PT Veneer 
Product road (450 m) on 3 July 2000. Considered rare 
in forest by Johnstone et al. (1996). 

Mountain White-eye Zosterops montanus 
Common above about 1,000 m to at least 2,300 m. 
Present in Casuarina forest and Dodonaea shrubs above 
2,000 m. 

Yellow-spectacled White-eye Zosterops wallacei 
Restricted-range 

Widespread and common in coastal savanna habitats 
including cashew and coffee plantations, under 
Duabanga and degraded forest to about 800 m. 

Crested White-eye Lophozosterops dohertyi 
Restricted-range 

Frequent or common in degraded semi-evergreen 
Duabanga forest from 300- 1,100m and montane forest. 
Everett collected specimens from 300-1,000 m (Hartert 
1896). 

Thick-billed White-eye Heleia crassirostris 
Restricted-range 

Present in forest from 300-2,000 m. 

Sunda Bush Warbler Cettia vulcania 
Frequent or common, yet elusive, in montane forest 
from 1,200-2,400 m; it was one of the few species 
present in Dodonaea shrubland above 2,200 m. First 
recorded for Tambora and Sumbawa in 1993 by P. 
Jepson (from 1,500-1,850 m), and may represent an 
undescribed subspecies (Coates and Bishop 1997). 

Mountain Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus trivirgatus 
Common in montane forest, 1,000-2,300+ m, including 
Dodonaea shrubland. Reported by Hartert (1896) as 
common. 

Australasian Bushlark Mirafra javanica 
Infrequently recorded as singles in savanna grasslands 
(0-100 m) but probably under-recorded. 


Golden-rumped Flowerpecker Dicaeum annae 
Restricted-range 

Frequent in semi-evergreen and lower montane forest 
from 800-2,000+ m, but it is undoubtedly also present 
in forest at lower elevations. 

Black-fronted Flowerpecker Dicaeum igniferum 
Restricted-range 

Common in coastal savanna, degraded village habitat, 
cashew plantations and degraded Duabanga forest up 
to about 800 m. 

Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus 

Frequently recorded in savanna grasslands from 0- 
100m. Historically reported from the ‘lowlands of Bima 
and Tambora and hills at 3,000 ft [900 m]’ (Hartert 
1896). 


DISCUSSION 

The avifauna 

A total of 93 bird species have been reliably reported 
for Tambora (see Appendix) including 88 considered 
resident (with two introduced resident species: Sooty- 
headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster and Eurasian Tree 
Sparrow Passer montanus ), and five migrant species 
(Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis , Sacred Kingfisher 
Todiramphus sanctus, Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus, 
Shining Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus and Arctic 
Warbler Phylloscopus borealis). The Sooty-headed Bulbul 
was newly reported for Sumbawa during this study 
(Trainor et al. in press). Seventy-six species were 
recorded in the present study including 73 residents. 
An environmental gradient associated most strongly 
with elevation and associated changes in habitat, natural 
succession following the eruption, logging, plantation 
habitat, bird trapping and hunting all influence bird 
species composition on Tambora. 

A rich pigeon and dove fauna was present with ten 
species recorded, and the Metallic Pigeon Columba 
vitiensis is also known from historical data (see 
Appendix). Granivorous species were significantly richer 
in lowland habitats, with none of eight granivores 
recorded in montane habitat above 800 m (where grass 
seed was undoubtedly highly limited). A greater 
proportion of birds of montane habitat were 
insectivorous, and five of the six omnivores were present 
in montane habitat. Several species possibly benefited 
from logging based on subjective assessment of their 
relative abundance: Elegant Pitta, Golden Whistler 
Pachycephala pectoralis, Brown-capped Fantail , Short¬ 
tailed Starling (recorded only in logged forest) and 
Yellow-spectacled White-eye. 

Birds along an elevation gradient 

In the current study almost every bird species (62 of 
73) was recorded below 800 m, with exactly half of these 
confined to lowland habitat. Only three forest birds were 
confined to the lowlands (Pink-necked Green Pigeon, 
Chestnut-capped Thrush and Short-tailed Starling), 
with the remaining 28 lowland species comprising either 
habitat generalists (e.g. Lesser Coucal Centropus 
bengalensis , Spotted Dove and Large-billed Crow), 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


Birds of GunungTambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia 


55 


savanna specialists (e.g. Black-shouldered Kite and 
Australasian Bushlark). A total of 31 forest-dependent 
species were recorded. Of the 11 birds confined to 
montane habitat, nine were forest birds (including eight 
species that are typically considered to be specialised 
hill or montane species: Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon, 
Wallace’s Scops Owl, Lesser Shortwing, Sunda Bush 
Warbler, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Snowy-browed 
Flycatcher, Little Pied Flycatcher and Mountain White- 
eye). 

Eleven restricted-range species were recorded on 
Tambora: White-rumped Kingfisher, Wallace’s Scops 
Owl, Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon, Flores Minivet, 
Brown-capped Fantail, Chestnut-backed Thrush, 
Yellow-spectacled White-eye, Crested White-eye, Thick¬ 
billed White-eye, Golden-rumped Flowerpecker, and 
Black-fronted Flowerpecker. All but Dark-backed 
Imperial Pigeon are endemic to NusaTenggara. Between 
none and five restricted-range species were recorded at 
sites below 400 m, but all 11 restricted-range species 
were recorded between 1,200-1,600 and ten from 1,600- 
2,000 m. These data highlight the importance of mid¬ 
elevation and montane forest as habitat for restricted- 
range birds on Sumbawa as elsewhere in NusaTenggara 
(Butchart et al. 1996,Trainor and Lesmana 2000). 

Montane bird faunas compared 

Twelve montane bird species have been recorded on 
GunungTambora including 10 in the current survey. P. 


Jepson also recorded Scaly Thrush Zoothera dauma 
(Coates and Bishop 1997) and KIH (1993) reported 
Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch Erythrura hyperythra , 
another hill or montane species. Of these species only 
Wallace’s Scops Owl (endemic to Sumbawa and Flores) 
is absent from Gunung Rinjani (8°22’S 116°25’E, 3,726 
m), on adjacent Lombok Island (Table 3). Gunung 
Rinjani, the highest mountain inWallacea, harbours four 
additional montane species not found on Tambora (see 
Table 3; Coates and Bishop 1997). The mountains of 
west Sumbawa reach a peak of c. 1,900 m, with limited 
montane habitat above 1,500 m; consequently the 
montane bird faunas of these peaks are poorly developed 
(Table 3). Their composition is identical to that of 
Tambora, except that two montane/hill species are 
absent (Lesser Shortwing and Sunda Bush-warbler). 
Martin and Barclay (1996) have, however, noted the 
former species in the Tatar Sepang area, but this 
probably requires confirmation. Butchart et al. (1996) 
failed to record five of the Sumbawan montane bird 
species during surveys at Puncak Ngengas (8°32’S 
117°07’E) and Batu Hijau (9°00’S 116°55’E) and 
predicted that they would occur at GunungTambora. 
At least three of these (Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Little 
Pied Flycatcher and Mountain Leaf Warbler) are also 
known from the extensive Puncak Ngengas-Selalu 
Legini forest block that they had surveyed (Trainor et 
al. 2000) and the Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch was listed 
for Batu Dulang by Rensch (1931). 


Table 3. Distribution of montane birds on selected mountains of West NusaTenggara: Gunung Rinjani (Lombok); GunungTambora 
(north Sumbawa); Puncak Ngenges (west Sumbawa); Batu Pasak/Batu Dulang (8°38’S 117°15’E, west Sumbawa); and Tatar Sepang 
(9°03’S 116°56’E, south-west Sumbawa). Sources: Rensch (1931) and Trainor et al. (2000). 


Species 

Gunung Rinjani 

Gunung Tambora 

Puncak Ngenges 

Batu Pasak 

Tatar Sepang 


3,750 (m) 

2,850 (m) 

1,923 (m) 

1,850 (m) 

973 (m) 

Wallace’s Scops Owl 






Otus silvicola 


+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 

Barred Cuckoo Dove 






Macropygia unchall 

+ 





Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon 
Treron sphenura 

Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon 

+ 





Ducula lacernulata 

+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 

Scaly-crowned Honeyeater 






Lichmera lombokia 

+ 


+ 

+ 


Chestnut-backed T hrush 

Zoothera dohertyi 

Sunda Thrush 

+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 

Zoothera andromedae 

+ 


+ 

+ 


Scaly Thrush 






Zoothera dauma 

+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 


Lesser Shortwing 

Brachypteryx leucophrys 

Snowy-browed Flycatcher 

+ 

+ 




Ficedula hyperythra 

Little Pied Flycatcher 

+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 

Ficedula westermanni 

+ 

+ 


+ 


Mountain White-eye 

Zosterops montanus 

Sunda Bush-warbler 

+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 


Cettia vulcania 

+ 

+ 




Mountain Leaf Warbler 
Phylloscopus trivirgalus 

Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch 

+ 

+ 


+ 

+ 

Erythrura hyperythra 

+ 

+ 


+ 







56 


COLIN R. TRAINOR 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Effects of volcanic cataclysm and variable 
recolonisation 

Only 11 of 19 restricted-range bird species known from 
Sumbawa were recorded and it is speculated that these 
absences, bar one, probably relate to the 1815 eruption. 
While the lack of records for Russet-backed Jungle 
Flycatcher Rhinornyias oscillans is unsurprising (recorded 
once from Sumbawa and probably highly local: Butchart 
et al. 1996), the absence of the remaining seven 
restricted-range species (Flores Green Pigeon Treron 
floris. Scaly-crowned Honeyeater Lichmera lombokia, 
Bare-throated Whistler Pachycephala nudigula , Russet- 
capped Tesia Tesia everetti, Flame-breasted Sunbird 
Nectarinia Solaris and Yellow-browed White-eye 
Lophozosterops superciliaris) is exceptional, because 
habitat is not perceptibly limiting and they are generally 
widespread in suitable habitat elsewhere (Trainor and 
Lesmana 2000).These species have either not been able 
to immigrate because of geographic isolation, have been 
out-competed by congeners (or both), or are present 
onTambora but improbably remain unrecorded. 

The Flores Green Pigeon is locally common in 
forests, especially dry deciduous and moist deciduous 
types, from Lombok to Alor (BirdLife International 
2001). Extensive savanna and dry forest is available in 
the Tambora lowlands. However, here the congeneric 
Pink-necked Green Pigeon is a dominant species at the 
extreme east of its limited Nusa Tenggara range, 
presumably excluding the establishment of populations 
of the former species. Flores Green Pigeon appears 
genuinely rare on Sumbawa: a total of four individuals 
were recorded from two Sumbawa sites in the 1990s 
(Butchart et al. 1996, Trainor et al. in press). Greater 
survey intensity may be required to detect this species 
or it may simply be patchily distributed on Sumbawa as 
on Flores (Butchart et al. 1996, Trainor and Lesmana 
2000 ). 

Similarly, the Scaly-crowned Honeyeater, a mostly 
hill or montane species, is likely to have been out- 
competed by Brown Honeyeater, which is abundant on 
Tambora from 1,000-2,300 m. OnTambora the Brown 
Honeyeater is essentially montane, with only a single 
record in the lowlands. However, in west Sumbawa this 
species is abundant in the lowlands and replaced by 
Scaly-crowned Honeyeater in the hills. Such patterns 
mirror those on Flores where the Brown Honeyeater is 
a lowland species in the west (e.g. Nanga Rawa) where 
Scaly-crowned Honeyeater occurs in the highlands, but 
is a hill and montane species in the east, where the Scaly- 
crowned Honeyeater is absent (e.g. Mount Egon and 
also Lewotobi:Trainor and Lesmana 2000). 

The Bare-throated Whistler is one of the most vocal 
and common species recorded from 400-2,000 m in 
the hills and mountains of west Sumbawa and west 
Flores (Butchart et al. 1996, Trainor and Lesmana 
2000), with Tambora’s evergreen forest habitat 
(especially at 800-1800 m) seemingly ideal. Habitat may 
not be limiting: competitive exclusion and geographic 
isolation may play a role. OnTambora the congeneric 
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis is common to 
abundant from sea level to almost 2,000 m, perhaps 
excluding the establishment of Bare-throated Whistler 
populations (although they do occur together at other 
localities: Trainor and Lesmana 2000). They may also 


be poor dispersers: in west Flores Schpiutz (1977) 
considered that the patchy distribution of Bare-throated 
Whistler, specifically its absence from a dormant volcano 
(Poco Dedeng), but presence in the nearby Mbeliling 
forests 8 km away, related to its inability to recolonise a 
previously active volcanic peak. The nearest Sumbawa 
populations of the Bare-throated Whistler are 80-100 
km to the south-west of Tambora, isolated by Teluk 
Saleh. Although not regarded as threatened (BirdLife 
International 2001), this species is locally distributed 
on Sumbawa and Flores (c.<3,000 km 2 ) and poorly 
known on Sumbawa except from several sites in the 
south-west (Butchart et al. 1996, Johnstone et al. 1996, 
Trainor and Lesmana 2000). 

The Russet-capped Tesia is endemic to Sumbawa, 
Flores and Adonara Island (Coates and Bishop 1997, 
C. R. Trainor unpublished data) and it is one of the 
most frequently recorded and common bird species in 
forest, shrub and degraded habitats. For example, on 
Flores it has been recorded in every (>20) forest block 
surveyed (Trainor and Lesmana 2000); thus its absence 
from the Tambora forests is striking. It is a skulking 
species mostly confined to the understorey of dense 
habitat; presumably it has been unable to recolonise 
Tambora following the eruption because expanses of 
savanna and grassland on the slopes of Tambora have 
acted as a physical barrier. 

The Yellow-browed White-eye is typically a common 
montane species endemic to Flores and Sumbawa. Its 
absence from Tambora is surprising because it is 
common in the mountains of west Sumbawa (e.g. 
Puncak Ngengas; Butchart et al. 1996). Most likely the 
scattered and isolated nature of mountain-top 
populations, and the low dispersal ability of this species 
have limited opportunities for re-colonisation. 
Conceivably, it may have been excluded by Crested 
White-eye, which is common on Tambora from the 
lowlands to about 2,000 m; however, these species co¬ 
occur at several forest sites in west Sumbawa and Flores 
(Trainor and Lesmana 2000, Trainor et al. 2000). 

The Flame-breasted Sunbird is one of the most 
widespread and common species in lowland habitats 
throughout its Nusa Tenggara range: its absence from 
the savannas and lowland forests of Tambora seems 
inexplicable. Presumably it too has failed to recolonise 
following the eruption. 

Bird trade 

The recent sharp decline in populations of the Yellow- 
crested Cockatoo, as well as Zoothera thrushes 
throughout Nusa Tenggara, has been mostly caused by 
captures for the cagebird market. On Tambora, Yellow- 
crested Cockatoo, Zoothera thrushes, Hill Myna Gracula 
religiosa, Green Junglefowl and Rainbow Lorikeet are 
captured for cash sale, and Orange-footed Scrubfowl 
Megapodius reimuardt is hunted for food. Habitat loss or 
degradation through logging may also be a factor in 
their reduced population densities. The Yellow-crested 
Cockatoo is nearing extinction on Sumbawa because 
of high levels of exploitation for the cagebird trade, and 
it was unrecorded in the present study. A bird trader at 
Sorinomo indicated thatYellow-crested Cockatoos could 
still be caught on the south-west slopes of Tambora, 
but that they occurred deep into the forest. Significantly, 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


Birds of GunungTambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia 


57 


Setiawan (1996) reported observations of 26 cockatoos 
over 10 km of transects at Labuan Kenanga between 
20 November 1994 and 1 December 1994, and a 
Forestry Guard claimed to have observed large flocks 
(about 100 individuals) north of Hodo in the south¬ 
east ofTambora in 1999. Additional surveys for Yellow- 
crested Cockatoos on the slopes ofTambora should be 
a priority for conservation activities for this species on 
Sumbawa, although the remnant population is likely to 
be small. In 2001, population surveys were undertaken 
in south-west Sumbawa (D. Agista verbally 2001). 

Local people indicated that Rainbow Lorikeets were 
captured on the lower slopes ofTambora while feeding 
at coconuts and Erythrina flowers (e.g. at Pancasila 
village), using decoy birds to attract wild individuals. 
Throughout Sumbawa this taxon is rare because of 
capture for the cagebird trade (e.g. Puncak Ngengas, 
Batu Hijau: Butchart et al. 1996). It remains one of the 
most frequently observed cagebird species on Sumbawa 
(at Sumbawa Besar, Domphu, Alas and Bima) and the 
forsteni race should probably be considered endangered. 
It was regarded as rare by Butchart et al. (1996) 
following their 1993 surveys. 

One other hole-nesting species went unrecorded. 
Twenty years ago Beudels and Liman (1981) stated that 
Hill Mynas were ‘very often seen’, and Everett recorded 
them from the lowlands to 1,000 m (Hartert 1896). In 
2000, locals from Sorinomo village stated that up to 
ten Hill Mynas could formerly be trapped daily, by 
placing nets in fruiting trees. However, this was perceived 
as no longer possible because of over-exploitation and 
subsequent population declines. 

Populations of Chestnut-backed Thrush and 
Chestnut-capped Thrush may have been widely 
extirpated onTambora prior to this survey. Reports from 
Batu Dulang (Puncak Ngengas area) as well as Pancasila 
(Tambora) revealed that Zoothera trappers had trapped 
the GunungTambora forests. Known locally as punglor 
kepala hitam/merah the Chestnut-backed Thrush and 
Chestnut-capped Thrush have been the main target of 
cagebird trappers throughout NusaTenggara in the past 
decade, with captures totalling hundreds of thousands 
or perhaps millions of individuals. On 4 July 2000, two 
Zoothera trappers were met leaving the Sorinomo forest 
in the late afternoon. Between 07h00 and 16h00 they 
had set a single 50 m long net in the forest, and had 
caught one Chestnut-backed Thrush. They indicated 
that it was still possible to catch 20-25 thrushes each 
day, but it was necessary to go far into the forest, about 
6-8 km walk from the village. They reported that pairs 
or groups of men used to catch 100-200 thrushes per 
day in 1996-1998. Local informants revealed that its 
price had peaked at Rp 250,000 each (c. 8US30, more 
than twice the average monthly salary of local villagers 
in West NusaTenggara) in 1998. However, demand and 
the price had fallen to about Rp 20,000 (c.$US2.50) 
by May 2000.This species prefers primary closed canopy 
forest from 200-2,000 m, probably favouring 700-1,200 
m; it occurs on all the larger Nusa Tenggara islands 
(Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba and Timor). Thus 
the single voice record of the Chestnut-capped Thrush 
is at once notable, and disturbing. Levels of international 
trade have been high, with birds observed in Singapore 
markets (BirdLife International 2001). 


Conservation measures 

Various conservation proposals have been put forward 
for the theTambora area. An area of 30,000 ha of mostly 
savanna grassland and gallery monsoon forest was 
gazetted as a hunting park ( taman burn) in the south¬ 
east ofTambora (SK/Menhut 676/Kpts/Um/10-1978; 
FAO/UNDP 1982). It was recommended that this 
hunting park join a proposed wildlife sanctuary (also 
called ‘ Duabanga moluccana Nature Reserve’; Beudels 
and Liman 1981) on the northern slopes ofTambora 
(Tambora Utara), including all forests above 1,000 m 
(i.e. including Duabanga forests at 1,000-1,400 m), and 
that these reserves and Moyo be integrated into a single 
conservation reserve (Beudels and Liman 1981). 

The entire Tambora volcano has recently been 
identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Rombang 
et al. (in press), one of 43 circumscribed areas in Nusa 
Tenggara which meet internationally recognised criteria 
based on their biodiversity significance. Interestingly, 
during the initial IBA work consideration was given to 
relegating the Tambora site to a ‘secondary area’ or 
dropping it altogether, because many of the restricted- 
range bird species present are represented in many (> 10) 
of the other Nusa Tenggara IBA sites (W. Rombang 
verbally 2001). However, in the final analysis it was 
retained as an IBA. Clearly Tambora is one of the most 
important landscapes in West Nusa Tenggara: Jepson 
and Monk (1995) included it as part of a critical 
minimum set of sites aiming to adequately meet species 
and habitat representation for West NusaTenggara. 

Threats to habitats and species are logging (legal and 
illegal), fire, grazing, agroforest (especially coffee) 
expansion and hunting. Specific conservation 
recommendations are beyond the scope of this article. 

Further study 

The Tambora area provides a range of interesting 
research possibilities. Extensive and diverse forests (and 
savanna) are habitat for bird species of international 
interest such as Yellow-crested Cockatoo and Chestnut- 
backed Thrush. Further study would be valuable to 
expand on some of the preliminary results compiled 
here and would also have practical value. Research into 
the environmental correlates of bird species composition 
and altitude, as well as season, various land and natural 
resource issues (e.g. hunting), and comparative analyses 
of montane bird faunas throughout NusaTenggara (or 
Wallacea) would also be interesting avenues of inquiry. 

Thanks to Dwi Lesmana for his support in the field and to BirdLife 
International-Indonesia Programme for their administrative support 
of this study. The Ford Foundation provided funding, as part of a 
review of the state of natural resources of Nusa Tenggara islands. 
Guy Dutson and Stuart Butchart provided important editorial cor¬ 
rections and guidance. The excellent historical review of theTambora 
area by Bernice de Jong Boers was of great assistance to give a por¬ 
trayal of the eruption. 


REFERENCES 

Beudels, R. C. and Liman, P. D. (1981) Pulau Moyo and the Sanggar 
Peninsula (GunungTambora). A plan for conservation in northern 
Sumbawa. Bogor: FAO/UNDP. 



58 


COLIN R. TRAINOR 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


BirdLife International (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife 
International Red Data Book. Cambridge, U.K.: BirdLife Inter¬ 
national. 

Butchart, S. H. M., Brooks, T. M., Davies, C.W. N., Dharmaputra, 
G., Dutson, G., Lowen, J. C. and Sahu, H. (1996) The conser¬ 
vation status of forest birds on Flores and Sumbawa, Indonesia. 
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Coates, B. J. and Bishop, K. D. (1997) A guide to the birds ofWallacea. 
Alderley, Queensland, Australia: Dove Publications. 

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Tenggara. Bogor: FAO/UNDP (Field Report 44). 

Grantham, M. (2000) New and interesting records from West 
Sumbawa. Kukila 11: 139-141. 

Hartert, E. (1896) An account of the collections of birds made by 
Mr William Doherty in the eastern Archipelago. Novit Zool. 3: 
537-590. 

Heyckendorf, K. and Jung, D. (1992) Tambora volcano, Sumbawa 
Island Indonesia. A comparison of ancient and modern volcanic 
products. Mitt. Geol.-Palaont. Inst. Univ. Hamburg 73: 1-35. 

Inskipp,T., Lindsey, N. and Duckworth, W. (1996) An annotated check¬ 
list of the birds of the Oriental Region. Sandy, U.K.: Oriental Bird 
Club. 

Jepson, P., and Monk, K. (1995) A review of the protected area system 
on Sumbawa Island, West Nusa Tenggara, in relation to biodiversity 
conservation. Bogor: BirdLife International-Indonesia 
Programme/PKA (Report No. 4). 

Jepson, P, Agista, D., Trainor, C., Lesmana, D., Setiawan, I. and 
Sujatnika. (2001) Identification and boundary proposals for a new 
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Tenggara Barat, 16Agustus 1993-9 September 1993. [Report on a 
scientific research expedition to Mount Tambora, West Nusa 
Tenggara, 16 August-9 September 1993 by Klub Indonesia 
Hijau]. Unpublished report. (In Indonesian.) 


Martin, K. and Barclay, S. (1996) Batu Hijau Project. Forest bird 
and bat monitoring, 1996 Surveys. Unpublished report to PT. 
Newmont Nusa Tenggara Pty. Ltd. 

Monk, K. A., de Fretes,Y. and Lilley, G. (1997) The ecology of Nusa 
Tenggara and Maluku. Singapore: Periplus. 

van Oosterzee, P. (1997) Where worlds collide: the Wallace Line. Ithaca: 
Cornell Univeristy Press. 

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national-Indonesia Programme (Report No. 14). 

Trainor, C, Martin, K., Lesmana, D., Agista, D., Drijvers, R. and 
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Colin R. Trainor, BirdLife International-Indonesia Programme, PO Box 310/Boo, Bogor, Indonesia. Current address: 
RMB B203 Cardigan 3352, Victoria, Australia. Email: halmahera@hotmail.com 




Forktail 18 (2002) 


Birds of GunungTambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia 


59 


APPENDIX 

A list of the birds of Tambora 


Species 

Status 

Previous records and altitude (m) 





Study sites 









Hartert 

FAO 

KIH 

1 

2 

3 

4 5 6 

7 

8 

9 

10 11 

12 

13 

14 15 

16 17 

Orange-footed Scrubfowl 
Megapodius reinwardt 

R,F 

900 

















Green Junglefowl 

Gallus varius 

R,F 

low 


1,000-2,500 

2 

2 



3 

2 

2 

2 


2 

2 

3 

3 

2 

Barred Buttonquail 

Turnix suscitator 

R 








2 


2 

2 







Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker 
Dendrocopos moluccensis 

R,F 

low & 900 


500-1,000 


2 



3 





3 

3 

3 

2 


Dollarbird 

Eurystomus orientalis 

AM 

low 







2 



2 

2 






Common Kingfisher 

Alcedo atthis 

R 

present 

















Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 
Ceyx erithacus 

R 

present 

















Stork-billed Kingfisher 
Halcyon capensis 

R 

low 

















Collared Kingfisher 
Todiramphus chloris 

R 

low 



2 

3 


2 

3 

3 

2 








Sacred Kingfisher 
Todiramphus sanctus 

AM 

low & 900 






2 2 

2 

2 









White-rumped Kingfisher 
Caridonax fulgidus 

R,RR,F 

low & 900 


1,500-2,000 


1 





2 



2 

2 

2 

2 


Rainbow Bee-eater 

Merops ornatus 

AM 

low & 900 

+ 

500-1,000 

3 

3 

3 

3 5 

3 

3 

3 

3 

3 

2 





Oriental Cuckoo 

Cuculus saturatus 

RjF 

900 












2 

4 

4 

3 


Rusty-breasted Cuckoo 
Cacomantis sepulcralis 

R,F 

900 



2 


2 





3 


3 

4 

4 

4 

2 

Shining Bronze Cuckoo 
Chrysococcyx lucidus 

AM 

low 

















Asian Koel 

Eudynamys scolopacea 

R 

low 


500-1,000 















Lesser Coucal 

Centropus bengalensis 

R 



500-1,000 


2 




2 

2 








Rainbow Lorikeet 

Trichoglossus haematodus 

R,F 


+ 

500-1,500 










2 

3 

3 

2 

2 

Yellow-crested Cockatoo 
Cacatua sulphurea (CR) 

R,F 


















Red-cheeked Parrot 
Geofjroyus geoffroyi 

R,F 


+ 

500-2,000 

2 

3 


2 



2 

3 

2 

3 

3 

3 

2 


Glossy Swiftlet 

Collocalia esculenta 

R 

900 


1,500-2,000 








4 





3 

3 4 

Moluccan Scops Owl 

Otus magicus 

R 

low 













2 




Wallace’s Scops Owl 

Otus silvicola 

R,RR,F 














2 

2 

2 

2 

Large-tailed Nightjar 
Caprimulgus macrurus 

R 



500-1,000 





2 










Savanna Nightjar 

Caprimulgus affinis 

R 

low 

















Metallic Pigeon 

Columba vitiensis 

R,F 

900 

















Spotted Dove 

Strepiopelia chinensis 

R 

low 



3 

3 




4 


2 


3 





Island Collared Dove 
Streptopelia bitorquata 

R 

low 




3 


3 











Little Cuckoo Dove 
Macropygia ruficeps 

R,F 

low & 900 

+ 

500-1,000 

2 

2 




2 


3 


3 

4 

4 

2 


Emerald Dove 

Chalcophaps indica 

R,F 

low 

+ 


2 

2 



3 


2 



2 

2 

2 

2 


Peaceful Dove 

Geopelia striata 

R 

low 



3 

3 

3 

3 

4 

2 









Pink-necked Green Pigeon 
Treron vernans 

R'F 

low 

+ 


2 

3 






2 







Black-backed Fruit Dove 
Ptilinopus cinctus 

R,F 

900 












3 

4 

4 

2 

2 

Black-naped Fruit Dove 
Ptilinopus melanospila 

R 

low & 900 


500-1,000 

2 




3 



3 


3 





Green Imperial Pigeon 
Ducula aenea 

R 

low & 900 

+ 


2 




3 

2 


3 


3 
















































60 


COLIN R. TRAINOR 


Forktail 18 (2002) 



Species 

Status 

Previous records and altitude (m) 
Hartert FAO KIH 

1 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

Study sites 
7 8 9 10 

11 

12 

13 14 15 

16 17 

Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon 
Ducula lacernulaia 

R,RR,F 



1,000-1,500 













3 

3 

3 


Black-shouldered Kite 
Elanus caeruleus 

R 





2 

2 

2 

2 












Brahminy Kite 

Haliastur indus 

R 


+ 

500-2,000 

2 

2 




2 

2 

2 



2 

2 

2 

2 

2 


White-bellied Sea Eagle 
Haliaeetus leucogaster 

R 


+ 


















Short-toed Snake Eagle 
Circaetus gallicus 

R 
















i 




Variable Goshawk 

Accipiter novaehollandiae 

R 







2 













Changeable Hawk Eagle 
Spisaetus cirrhatus 

R,F 
















i 




Spotted Kestrel 

Falco moluccensis 

R 

900 


500-1,000 






2 



2 



2 

2 

2 

2 


Pacific Reef Egret 

Egretta sacra 

R 











2 









Elegant Pitta 

Pitta elegans 

R,F 










2 

2 

2 

2 


3 

4 

2 



Brown Honeyeater 

Lichmera indistincta 

R 

low & 900 


500-1,500 

2 












3 

5 

4 

4 

Helmeted Friarbird 

Philemon buceroides 

R>F 

low 

+ 


2 

3 






3 

3 



3 

4 




Long-tailed Shrike 

Lanius schach 

R 

low 


500-1,000 

3 

2 

3 


2 

2 

3 


2 








Golden Whistler 

Pachycephala pectoralis 

R 



1,000-1,500 

3 

2 




3 

3 

3 


4 

3 

4 

4 

4 

3 


Large-billed Crow 

Corvns macrorhynchos 

R 




2 

2 















White-breasted Woodswallow 

Artamus leucorynchus R 

low 


1,000-1,500 

2 





5 


3 


3 


3 

3 

3 

2 


Black-naped Oriole 

Oriolus chinensis 

R 

low & 900 

+ 

500-1,500 

3 

2 










3 

2 




Wallacean Cuckooshrike 
Coracina personata 

RT 

low 














2 

2 

2 

2 


White-shouldered Triller 
Lalage sueurii 

R 

low & 900 



3 

4 



2 

4 

4 

3 

2 

2 







Flores Minivet 

Pericrocotus lansbergei 

R,RR,F 

low & 900 


1,000-2,000 

2 





2 

3 


2 

2 

2 

3 

3 

3 

3 


Brown-capped Fantail 
Rhipidura diluta 

R,RR,F 

low & 900 


500-1,500 

2 

2 




2 

2 


2 



4 

4 

3 

2 


Spangled Drongo 

Dicrurus hottentottus 

R 



1,000-1,500 

2 

2 





4 


3 

3 


3 

2 

2 

2 


Black-naped Monarch 
Hypothymis aznrea 

R 

low & 900 


500-1,500 

3 



2 


2 

4 

4 

2 

3 


3 

3 

2 



Chestnut-cappedThrush 
Zoothera interpres 

R,F 

600 


1,000-1,500 









2 








C hestnut-backed T hrush 
Zoothera dohertyi (NT) 

R,RR,F 

900 














2 

3 

2 



Scaly Thrush 

Zoothera dauma 

R,F 




















Lesser Shortwing 
Brachypteryx leucophrys 

RjF 

900 
















2 



Snowy-browed Flycatcher 
Ficedula hyperythra 

R,F 

900 


1,000-1,500 














2 

2 


Rufous-chested Flycatcher 
Ficedula dumetoria (NT) 

R,F 

900 



















Little Pied Flycatcher 
Ficedula westermanni 

R,F 

900 


1,000-1,500 














2 

2 


Pied Bushchat 

Saxicola caprata 

R 

low 


1,000-1,500 

4 

3 


2 


2 

3 




2 






Short-tailed Starling 

Aplonis minor 

R,F 



500-1,000 











2 

2 





Hill Myna 

Gracula religiosa 

R>F 

low & 900 

+ 


















Great T it 

Parus major 

R 

low & 900 


1,000-1,500 

3 

4 


2 


5 

4 

2 

2 

3 


2 

4 

4 

2 

2 

Sooty-headed Bulbul 
Pycnonotus aurigaster 

Ri 




2 
















Zitting Cisticola 

Cisticola juncidis 

R 






3 























































Forktail 18 (2002) 


Birds of GunungTambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia 


61 


Species 

Status 

Previous records and altitude (m) 
Hartert FAO KIH 

1 2 3 

4 5 6 

Study sites 

7 8 9 10 11 

12 13 14 15 16 17 

Mountain White-eye 
Zosterops montanus 

RjF 

500-1,000 




3 3 3 3 

Lemon-bellied White-eye 
Zosterops chloris 

R 

present 

3 4 

2 2 3 

4 2 


Y ellow-spectacled White- 
Zosterops wallacei 

-EYE 

R,RR 

low 

4 3 

2 

4 5 3 4 3 

4 

Crested White-eye 
Lophozosterops dohertyi 

R,RR,F 

300-900 



3 

3 4 4 3 

Thick-billed White-eye 
Heleia crassirostris 

R,RR,F 




2 

3 4 4 3 

Sunda Bush Warbler 

Cettia vulcania 

R,F 





3 3 4 

Arctic Warbler 
Phylloscopus borealis 

PM 

low & 900 





Mountain Leaf warbler 
Phylloscopus trivirgatus 

R,F 

900 




3 4 2 3 

Australasian Bush lark 
Mirafra javanica 

R 

low 

2 3 

3 




Golden-rumped Flowerpecker 

Dicaeum annae R,RR,F 3 3 3 2 


Thick-billed Flowerpecker 
Dicaeum agile 

R 

low 







Black-fronted Flowerpecker 
Dicaeum- igniferum 

R,RR 

low 


3 


3 3 

3 

3 3 3 2 2 

Brown-throated Sunbird 
Anthreptes malacensis 

R 


500-1,000 



2 



Olive-backed Sunbird 
Nectarinia jugularis 

R 

low & 900 


3 

4 3 4 

4 3 

3 

4 3 

Eurasian Tree Sparrow 

Passer montanus 

Ri 








Paddyfield Pipit 

Anthus rufulus 

R 

low & 900 



3 2 3 4 




Red Avadavat 

Amandava amandava 

R 


500-1,500 






Zebra Finch 

Taeniopygia guttata 

R 



4 

2 2 

3 

2 


Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch 
Erythrura hyperythra 

R,F 


500-1,500 






Black-faced Munia 

Lonchura molucca 

R 

present 

500-1,000 

4 

2 



2 

Scaly-breasted Munia 

Lonchura punctulata 

R 





2 

4 


Pale-headed Munia 

Lonchura pallida 

R 





2 




Key 

Threat category (from BirdLife International 2001): 

CR = Critically Endangered 
NT = Near Threatened 

Status: 

R = Resident^ AM = Migrant from Australia, PM = Palearctic migrant, Ri = Resident, introduced, RR = restricted-range species 
(Stattersfield et al. 1998), F = forest-dependent (based on Butchart et al. 1996, Coates and Bishop 1997,Trainor and Lesmana 2000). 

Previous records and altitude: 

Hartert: present = recorded but altitude not noted; low = lowlands (about 0-300 m), 600 m = 2,000 ft, 900 m = 3,000 ft (from Hartert 
1896) 

FAO: + = recorded as present by Beudels and Liman (1981) 

KIH: Presence and elevation given for records by KIH (1993) 

Study sites: (refer to Table 2 for details) 

Presence and subjective assessment of relative abundance at each site are given for project records, where: 1 = rare, 

2 = uncommon, 3 = frequent, 4 = common, 5 = abundant. 





































) 






FORKTAIL 18 (2002): 63-65 


Rediscovery of the Critically Endangered 
Sumatran Ground Cuckoo Carpococcyx viridis 

B. ZETRA, A. RAFIASTANTO, W. M. ROMBANG and C. R. TRAINOR 


A single individual Sumatran Ground Cuckoo Carpococcyx viridis was live-trapped, photographed 
and released, and this or another bird later seen, inside Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park at 
Sukaraja, Lampung, Sumatra, on 11 November 1997, apparently the first records in 81 years. 
These records were within c.100 m of each other, in hilly primary tropical evergreen forest at 
c.500 m elevation. In October 2000 there was a very probable but unconfirmed sighting of the 
species in Bukit Rimbang BalingWildlife Sanctuary, Riau, Sumatra, at c.700 m in mixed primary/ 
secondary hill forest. 


INTRODUCTION 

Following an identity crisis lasting 118 years the 
Sumatran Ground Cuckoo Carpococcyx viridis was, in 
1995, finally recognised as a full species, distinct from 
the Bornean form C. radiatus (Bornean Ground 
Cuckoo) with which it had long been lumped (Collar 
and Long 1996). A comprehensive review of the 
Sumatran Ground Cuckoo was published in that paper 
and in BirdLife International (2001). In the latter review, 
the species was assessed as being Critically Endangered, 
the highest degree of threat under the IUCN criteria, 
and it thus was registered as one of the most threatened 
bird species in Indonesia. 

This large terrestrial cuckoo, discovered in 1878, is 
known by a total of nine specimens, eight of them taken 
in primary hill forest at 300-1,400 m along the Barisan 
Range in East Sumatra (Collar and Long 1996), the 
ninth having no label data (BirdLife International 2001). 
By contrast, the Bornean Ground Cuckoo occurs in 
undulating lowland and low hilly forest throughout 
Borneo (Long and Collar 2002). Several features 
distinguish the Sumatran Ground Cuckoo: it is about 
20% smaller than the Bornean, oil-green rather than 
purplish-blue on the wing and tail, buff rather than off- 
white below, without the hood of Bornean birds and 
possessing a different periorbital skin colour (green in 
Bornean, green, pink and blue in Sumatran: Collar and 
Long 1996). There are no recent confirmed records. 
BirdLife International (2001) document several 
unconfirmed records including a sighting by a guide 
above Tapan, and by hunters also in Kerinci Seblat 
National Park. 

Forest loss, both montane and lowland, is 
intensifying in Sumatra. It has been predicted that 
virtually all lowland dryland forest on the island will be 
lost by 2005 (Holmes and Rombang in press). Such 
concerns, combined with the fact the Sumatran Ground 
Cuckoo had not been documented since 1916, caused 
Collar and Long (1996) to remark that ‘it is time this 
bird was rediscovered and learnt about’. The 
observations of the species by BZ and AR took place 
the year after this plea, but their significance was not 
appreciated at the time, and it was only when several 
ornithologists later visited the area in question and learnt 
of them from BZ that the impetus for this note was 


generated, unfortunately at least a year too late for 
inclusion in the account of the species in BirdLife 
International (2001). 


SURVEY METHODS 

In the years 1995-1999 the European Union-INTAG 
Forest Inventory and Monitoring Project undertook 
multi-disciplinary field surveys to build an Integrated 
Forest Resource Information System (IFRIS) for the 
Ministry of Forestry and Estate Crops, Jakarta. As part 
of this work intensive systematic biodiversity assessments 
were undertaken by a team that included AR and BZ at 
17 sites in the provinces of Jambi, Bengkulu, Lampung 
and South Sumatra. At each site, three transects of 1.65 
km were established; and vegetation and habitat plots 
of 0.1 ha were sampled every 100 along the plots 
(totaling 45 per site). Each site, except those in Jambi, 
was surveyed for 20 days. Bird survey methods involved 
90-minute counts (totaling 232.5 hours at ten sites) and 
‘50-individual’ counts (identity and number of 
individuals was noted, samples repeated after 50 
individual birds were recorded) along the transects. In 
addition, ten small mammal traps were set in each of 
45 vegetation plots at each site, and sampled for two 
consecutive days; effort was about 900 trap-nights per 
site. 

In the period 15-30 October 2000 a local Indonesian 
NGO (Lembaga Kajian Ilmiah Lingkungan Hidup: 
LKILH) undertook a biological/bird survey of the Bukit 
Rimbang-BalingWildlife Sanctuary in Riau, supported 
by BirdLife International-Indonesia Programme. The 
project aimed to document the avifauna of this very 
poorly known Important Bird Area (see Holmes and 
Rombang 2001, in press). The survey was led by Sri 
Mariati, with three assistants, who had participated in 
BirdLife-IP training on bird identification techniques. 


RESULTS 

Record 1 A single Sumatran Ground Cuckoo was found 
alive by AR inside a small mammal live-trap at around 
08h00 on 11 November 1997 in the Kubu Lincik/ 
Sukaraja area, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, 




64 


B. ZETRA et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Tanggamus District, Lampung province, 5°30’31”S 
104°25’53”E.The habitat in the general area was mainly 
primary tropical evergreen rainforest on gently sloping 
hills at around 500 m above sea-level (a coffee plantation 
patch was about 100 m away). No description or 
measurements were taken of this individual, but it was 
photographed before being released. The two 
photographs reproduced here, consisting of a frontal 
shot of head and chest (Fig. 1) and a lateral close-up of 
the head showing the bill, eye and periorbital area (Fig. 
2)—a third shot of back and tail is too dark to be 
informative—clearly confirm the identity of the bird 
based on comparisons with the cover plate and specimen 
photographs in Collar and Long (1996) (‘C&L’ in the 
following paragraph) and plate in del Hoyo et al. (1997). 

The upper mandible is black or perhaps dark 
greenish-brown (C&L mention dark green or greenish- 
black), while the lower mandible is a light bone colour 
(C&L give light green or greenish). The orbital skin at 
the lores is fawn/white or perhaps light green, although 
the quality of the photos makes this difficult to judge 
(C&L mention verditer green); behind the eyes is 
crimson and lilac purple (C&L mention pale lilac); and 
above the cheek appears to be crimson red (C&L 
mention pale indigo blue). Feathers on the chin are 
uniform brown-black, perhaps chestnut-brown (C&L 
for juvenile mention rich chestnut with mottling, rather 
than barring, matt black in adults). Throat and upper 
breast are brownish, with the rest of the underparts finely 
barred with cinnamon-brown or chestnut (much darker 
than the juvenile shown in C&L).The upperparts cannot 
clearly be seen but appear dark green. 

Record 2 For about a minute between lOhOO and 1 lhOO 
on the same day as record 1, and (as was determined by 
checking records much later) at a distance of only some 
100 m from the position of the trap involved in that 
record, BZ observed a bird he first disturbed around 
15 m away from him on the forest floor. Although 
unfamiliar with Carpococcyx (and entirely unaware of 
the live-trap record in the vicinity 2-3 hours before), he 
immediately recognised it as a type of ground cuckoo 
as it moved swiftly across the ground into thicker cover. 
He noted it as fairly large—roughly 60 cm, about the 
size of a coucal Centropus —with a metallic green back, 
wings and tail, brown and white bars across the chest, 
and some bright bluish coloration around the eyes. 
Comparison a few hours later with the illustration of 
the Bornean form of ‘Sunda Ground Cuckoo’ in 
MacKinnon and Phillipps (1993) immediately settled 
the identity of the bird as that species, the form viridis 
there being described as ‘smaller and greener’. 

Habitat along the transect line was lowland tropical 
rainforest at a mean elevation of 514 m (SE 33.3 m), 
on moderate steep slopes (average 33°). Palms, 
pandanus, large ferns and rattan were present but not 
frequent.The ten most dominant trees along the transect 
were (in descending order of number of individuals): 
Stemonurus secundiflora (Icacinaceae), Pterocymbium 
tubulatus (Sterculiaceae), Dillenia indica (Dilleniaceae), 
Dipterocarpus kunstleri (Dipterocarpaceae), 
Xanthophyllum excelsum (Polygalaceae), Cinnamomum 
parthenoxylon (Lauraceae), Adina polycephala 
(Rubiaceae) and Pometia pinnata (Sapindaceae). 



Figure 1. Head and breast of Sumatran Ground Cuckoo 
Carpococcyx viridis (AR). 


r~ 



Figure 2. Close-up of Sumatran Ground Cuckoo 

Carpococcyx viridis (AR). 


Record 3 Participants in the LKILH survey of Bukit 
Rimbang-BalingWildlife Sanctuary (1,460 km : ) in Riau 
province reported sighting what they believed was a 
Sumatran Ground Cuckoo in a hilly area of open 
secondary forest with a dense undergrowth above 700 
m at their fourth and last study site (0°22'S 101°07 'E) at 
noon on 30 October 2000. WMR and CRT think it 
entirely possible that the survey team were correct in 
their identification (all other birds they reported have 
subsequently been confirmed at the site), but as no notes 
were provided, and given the great rarity of the species, 
they judge that this record is best left as provisional. 
















Forktail 18 (2002) 


Rediscovery of the critically endangered Sumatran Ground-cuckoo 


65 


DISCUSSION 

The first two of these records confirm that the Sumatran 
Ground Cuckoo is still extant and is to be found further 
south than any previous record (see the map in BirdLife 
International 2001). Collar and Long (1996) stated that 
the ‘Barisan Range is a major repository of biological 
value’, and strongly recommended ‘new initiatives to 
catalogue and study the avifauna of the region, with 
particular reference to its endemic and threatened birds 
and to the adequacy of the long-term conservation 
provided for them by existing protected areas’.This call 
is being carried forward at Bukit Barisan Selatan 
National Park by the Wildlife Conservation Society 
Indonesia Programme. Moreover, the European Union- 
INTAG project, during which these records (albeit very 
possibly of the same individual bird) were made, has 
resulted in a detailed database of bird records for the 
area which it is greatly hoped will duly be analysed and 
published. Forest in the national park is amongst the 
more secure areas along the Barisan Range to which 
the Sumatran Ground Cuckoo is endemic (see BirdLife 
International 2001: 1716-1718), but the capture of a 
specimen in a mammal trap is evidence of the species’s 
susceptibility to capture by ground snares set by hunters 
for ground-dwelling birds and small mammals. 

The third record strongly hints that it may occur at 
a key biodiversity site (identified as an Important Bird 
Area: see Holmes and Rombang 2001, in press) in 
central Sumatra. Few data were previously available for 
this site, but a total of 157 birds were observed including 
four globally threatened and ten NearThreatened (using 
the classifications in Collar et al. 1994). Follow-up work 
specifically seeking the Sumatran Ground Cuckoo and 
other key birds, and evaluating forest status and threats 
in the region, would be valuable. Holmes and Rombang 
(2001, in press) note that illegal timber cutting, forest 
encroachment and infrastructure development are major 
threats to ecosystem viability at Bukit Baling. 


CRT would like to thank Sujarwoko of FIMP for extracting details 
of avifaunal and habitat data, and the survey team for their quality 
fieldwork. They were supported by Forest Protection and Nature 
Conservation Department (PHKA). Work by the NGO LKILH was 
supported by BirdLife InternationaUndonesia Programme includ¬ 
ing the provision of a small grant from the ‘Committee of Environ¬ 
mental Education Project for Indonesia’ (from Japan). BZ wishes to 
thank Mistar, Ilhami and Sukianto Lusli for their help and company 
in the field, and Neville Kemp and Bas van Balen for helping to 
identify the significance of the observations. Thanks also go to Sri 
Mariati (LKILH), Seno Subroto (LKILH), KokokYulianto (Science 
Faculty, University of Riau), Budi Hartono (Science Faculty, Uni¬ 
versity of Riau) and Rush (PHKA regional office at Indragiri), for 
giving us details of their record from Bukit Rimbang-Baling Wildlife 
Sanctuary. 


REFERENCES 

BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife 
International Red Data Book. Cambridge, U.K.: BirdLife Inter¬ 
national. 

Collar, N. J., Crosby, M. J. and Stattersfield, A. J. (1994) Birds to 
watch 2: the world list of threatened birds. Cambridge, U.K.: BirdLife 
International. 

Collar, N. J. and Long, A. J. (1996) Taxonomy and names of 
Carpococcyx cuckoos from the Greater Sundas. Forktail 11: 135- 
149. 

Holmes, D. and Rombang, W. M. (2001) Daerah penting bagi burung 
Sumatera. Bogor: PKA/BirdLife International-Indonesia 
Programme. (In Indonesian). 

Holmes, D. and Rombang, W. M. (in press) Important Bird Areas of 
Sumatra. Kukila. 

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J., eds. (1997) Handbook of birds 
of the world, V< ol. 4. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. 

Long, A. J. and Collar, N. J. (2002) Distribution, status and natural 
history of the Bornean Ground Cuckoo Carpococcyx radiants. 
Forktail 18: 111-119 

MacKinnon, J. and Phillipps, K. (1993) A field guide to birds of Borneo, 
Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 


B. Zetra, Forest Inventory and Monitoring Project, Manggala Wanabakti, Blok IV Lt. 5, Jalan Gatot Subroto, Jakarta 
10270, Indonesia; current address: Warsi Informasi Konservasi, Jalan Teuku Umar no. 24, Bangko, Jatnbi, Sumatra, 
Indonesia 

A. Rafiastanto, Forest Inventory and Monitoring Project, Manggala Wanabakti, Blok IV Lt. 5, Jalan Gatot Subroto, 
Jakarta 10270, Indonesia; current address:WWF Indonesia, Kantor Taman Nasional BBS, Jalan Juanda, km 2.5 no. 10, 
Kota Agung, Tanggamus, Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia 

W. M. Rombang, BirdLife International-Indonesia Programme, Jalan Dadali 32, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia; Email: 

william@burung. org 

C. R. Trainor, BirdLife International-Indonesia Programme, Jalan Dadali 32, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia; permanent 
address: 3 Empire Crt, Anula, 0812, Northern Territory, Australia. Email: halmahera@hotmail.com 






















FORKTAIL 18 (2002): 67-86 


A collection of birds from the Cardamom Mountains, 
Cambodia, including a new subspecies of 
Arborophila cambodiana 

JONATHAN C. EAMES, FRANK D. STEINHEIMER and ROS BANSOK 


As part of a wider exploration effort to determine the biological importance of the Cardamom 
Mountains, Cambodia, and to identify priority species and habitats for conservation, we undertook 
fieldwork on two hitherto unexplored mountains in the Mount SamkosWildlife Sanctuary during 
February and March 2000. During the survey a total of 166 bird species were recorded either by 
trapping or direct observation, including two threatened species (Chestnut-headed Partridge 
Arborophila cambodiana and Green Peafowl Pavo cristatus ) and 15 species new for Cambodia. In 
total, 52 skins, one wing, 28 complete and 35 incomplete alcohol specimens and 35 tissue samples 
were collected. This collection contains two specimens of the Chestnut-headed Partridge 
intermediate between the two known subspecies A. c. cambodiana and A. c. diversa and therefore 
distinctive enough to be described as a new subspecies. In comparison with the Da Lat Plateau 
EBA in Vietnam, the same bird-feeding guilds were present, although represented by fewer genera. 
The geographic factors most likely to have led to the evolution of a depauperate avifauna in the 
Cardamom Mountains are their isolation from other ranges in Indochina, their relatively low 
height, and the small overall area of habitat above 1,500 m. Nevertheless, the occurrence of two 
restricted-range species (Chestnut-headed Partridge and Cambodian Laughingthrush Garrulax 
ferrarius ) in the Cardamom Mountains means the Thailand-Cambodia Mountains Secondary 
Area (s085) does now meet the minimum criteria for an EBA and the area should be considered 
to be of elevated conservation concern. However, within an Indochinese context the Cardamom 
Mountains cannot be considered to be a major centre of bird endemism. 


INTRODUCTION 

From January to April 2000 a multi-disciplinary team 
of field scientists participated in the first comprehensive 
exploration of the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia. 
The expedition was organised by Fauna and Flora 
International in collaboration with the Department of 
Forestry and Wildlife and the Ministry of Environment 
of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The expedition was 
undertaken at the request of the Government of the 
Kingdom of Cambodia to determine the biological 
importance of the Cardamom Mountains and to identify 
priority species and habitats for conservation, especially 
within the Mount Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary. The 
ornithological team undertook fieldwork on Mount 
Tumpor (12°22’N 103°02’E) and Mount Khmaoch 
(12°09’45”N 103°00’45”E), two hitherto unexplored 
mountains in the Cardamom range, during February 
and March 2000. The results of the whole expedition, 
including a summary of the ornithological studies, have 
already been published (Steinheimer et al. 2000). The 
purpose of this paper is to provide a full and detailed 
account of the ornithological results of this expedition. 
We additionally review the levels of avian diversity and 
endemism in the Cardamom Mountains within a 
regional context. 

The Cardamom Mountains (12°00’N 103°15’E) are 
located in south-west Cambodia and cover an area of 
10,000 km 2 (Figs. 1 and 2). At its maximum extent the 
entire mountain range, of which the Cardamom 
Mountains are part, includes outlying peaks such as 


Khao Soi Dao (Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, 
13°06’N 102°07’E) and Khao Sa Bap (12°17’N 
102°23’E) in south-east Thailand and extends on a 
north-west-south-east axis to include the Mount Aural 
massif, and the Elephant range at its most south-easterly 
extremity. The highest points in the Cardamom 



Figure 1. Location of the Cardamom Mountains in 
Cambodia. 









68 


J. C. EAMES et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 



Mountains are Mount Samkos (12°09’N 103°03’E) at 

l, 717 m and Mount Aural (12°01’N 104°14’E) at 1,771 

m. The Cardamom Mountains are located at 11-13° 
North and enjoy a tropical monsoon climate. Most 
rainfall is delivered from April to October by the south¬ 
west monsoon. Rainfall in some areas exceeds 4,000 
mm per annum (Ashwell 1997). The Cardamom 
Mountains are covered in tropical evergreen and semi¬ 
evergreen forest, and dry deciduous forest in adjoining 
lowland areas (Fig. 3). 


HISTORY OF ORNITHOLOGICAL 
EXPLORATION 

Jean Delacour, Pierre Jabouille and Willougby Lowe 
undertook the first ornithological exploration of the 
Cardamom Mountains during their fourth French 
Indochina Expedition (Delacour 1933).The expedition 
collected at the hill station of Bokor (Bokor National 
Park, 10°37’N 104°03’E) in the Elephant range during 
December 1927. Here they collected at 3,000 feet (1,000 
m) amid low and stunted forest, the slopes of the 
escarpment and also at sea-level around the town of 
Kampot (10°37’N 104°1 l’E: Delacour 1929a, 1929b). 
During this expedition 21 new taxa were collected and 
subsequently described, including the following nine 
endemic forms from Bokor: Silver Pheasant Lophura 
nycthemera lewisi, Chestnut-headed Partridge A rborophila 
cambodiana, Blue Pitta Pitta cyanea aurantiaca, 
Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus cambodianus. 
White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura cambodiana , Lesser 
Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer lefoli, Streaked 
Wren Babbler Napothera brevicaudata griseigularis , 
White-bellied Yuhina Yuhina xantholeuca canescens , and 


Buff-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus 
cambodianum (Delacour and Jabouille 1928). 

Whilst engaged in ichthyological studies for the Royal 
Siamese Bureau of Fisheries, Dr Hugh M. Smith 
devoted his leisure time to collecting birds. Between 
1923 and 1934 he sent a total of 6,459 bird skins, 96 
bird skeletons and 43 birds’ eggs to the United States 
National Museum (USNM, Smithsonian Institution: 
Deignan 1938a, b, Riley 1938). During the winter of 
1929-1930 Smith made a collection of birds from south¬ 
east Siam, including the mountains along the Siamese- 
Cambodian border. Smith reached Khao Sa Bap 
(1 2° 1 7’N 102°23’E), Chantabun (Chanthaburi) 
province, an isolated peak a little over 1,000 m, on 5-9 
January 1930. He described this peak after a further 
visit between 23 October and 26 November as ‘being in 
a primeval condition’ (Riley 1938). In 1930 Smith 
presented his collection to the USNM and subsequently 
Riley published type descriptions of a new form of 
Chestnut-headed Partridge Arborophila diversa, 
(although the designation of this form as a valid species 
was subsequently withdrawn by the author: Riley 1938), 
Cambodian Laughingthrush Garrulax ferrarius and Fire¬ 
breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ( umbratile ) 
cambodianum (Riley 1940). The partridge and 
flowerpecker were collected at Khao Sa Bab (sic) in 
Chanthaburi province, and the laughingthrush was 
collected at Khao Kuap, near Ivrat (12°14’N 102°30’E: 
Riley 1930, 1938). This locality was placed in Thailand 
by both Deignan and Riley (Riley 1930, 1938, Deignan 
1964). A justification for believing that the type locality 
lies within Cambodia has recently been published 
(Round and Robson 2001). Subsequently in 1933 Riley 
published a short note describing Mountain Bulbul 
Hypsipetes mcclellandii canescens from Khao Kuap, Krat 

















Forktail 18 (2002) 


A collection of birds from the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia 


69 




H s 


Figure 3. View of Mount Samkos summit from Mount 
Khmaoch. Photo: J. C. Eames. 



Figure 4. Ventral view of the type specimens of Arborophila 
cambodiana chandamonyi (Holotype BMNH 2000.5.1 adult 
female collected at 1,250 m on Mount Tumpor (12°22’N 
103°02’E), Pursat province, Cambodia, on 5 March 2000; 
and Paratype BMNH 2000.5.2 adult unsexed collected at 
1,500 m on Mount Khmaoch (12°09’45”N 103°00’45”E), 
Pursat province, Cambodia, on 19 March 2000. Photo: 

H.Taylor ©The Natural History Museum. 



Figure 6. Dorsal view of holotype of Arborophila c. 
chandamonyi (BMNH 2000.5.1). Photo: J. C. Eames. 


Figure 5. Profile view of holotype of Arborophila c. 
chandamonyi (BMNH 2000.5.1). Photo: J. C. Eames. 





























70 


J. C. EAMES et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 







. 


S 







Figure 7. Dorsal view of the types of Arborophila cambodiana chandamonyi (BMNH 2000.5.1 and BMNH 2000.5.2). Photo: 
FI. Taylor ©The Natural History Museum. 



Figure 8. Male Silver Pheasant Lophura nycthemera lewisi 
(BMNH 2000.5.4). Photo: J. C. Eames. 



Figure 9. Cambodian Laughingthrush Garrulax ferrarius 
(BMNH 2000.5.32). Photo: J. C. Eames. 



Figure 10. Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera 
rufodorsalis (BMNH 2000.5.35 and BMNH 2000.5.36). 
Photo: J. C. Eames. 
















Forktail 18 (2002) 


A collection of birds from the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia 


71 


province, south-eastern Siam, and Streaked Wren 
Babbler Napothera brevicaudata cognata (= ssp. 
griseigularis ) from Khao Sa Bab, Chantabun 
(Chanthaburi) province (Riley 1933). In autumn 1933 
Smith paid another visit to Khao Sa Bab, collecting, 
amongst others, additional specimens of Arborophila 
diversa. The visit also resulted in the discovery and 
description of a presumed new taxon of Asian Paradise- 
flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi sababensis (Riley 1934). 
Further diagnosis by Riley of the collection made by 
Smith at Khao Sa Bab resulted in the description of 
LesserYellownape Cirropicus chlorolophus conjunctus syn. 
of Picus chlorolophus annamensis and Long-tailed 
Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae cyanicauda (Riley 1935). 
Finally, based on specimens collected by Smith at Khao 
Seming and Khao Khuap, Rrat, in 1928 and 1929, Riley 
described a form of Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe 
(: nipalensis ) peracensis eremita (Riley 1936) and Deignan 
(1938b) described a new form of Grey-chinned Minivet 
Pericrocotus Solaris nassovicus. 

In 1935 and 1936 Dr P. Engelbach made 
observations around Kampot and at Bokor in the 
Elephant range (Engelbach 1938). Engelbach noted the 
absence of woodpeckers Picidae and noted that 
Chestnut-headed Partridge was common from 400- 
1,000 m. Subsequently, in April 1944 he undertook a 
50-day exploration of the central Cardamom Mountains 
beginning at Sre Umbell (11°08’N 103°46’E) on the 
coast 100 km from Kampot, journeying along the Russey 
River and terminating atTnal Krabei on the coast, 200 
km north-west of Kampot. Engelbach’s route 
encompassed a variety of habitats including riverine, 
agricultural land, open deciduous forest as well as 
evergreen forest. Notable were his observations ofWhite- 
shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni, White-winged Duck 
Cairina scutulata and Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea 
(Engelbach 1940). At 1,100 m on 14 April 1944 
Engelbach collected a male and female Blue-winged 
Minla Minla cyanouroptera, which he immediately 


recognised as a distinctive new form and later described 
as AL c. rufodorsalis (Engelbach 1946). 

In 1961 Bernard R. Feinstein from the Smithsonian 
Institution made a collection from Kirirom (Kirirom 
National Park, 11°20’N 104°03’E) in the Elephant 
range. During his trip to Cambodia Feinstein collected 
66 bird specimens between 31 March and 7 April 1961 
(USNM Feinstein collection, reg. no. 475272-475337). 
No new forms were described from his collection. 

More recently a bird survey was undertaken in Ream, 
Kirirom and Mount Bokor National Parks (Goes et al. 
1998, Neath et al. 2001), and details of recent sight 
records have been frequently published (e.g. Poole and 
Sun Hean 1999, Davidson 2000, Goes 2000a). 


METHODOLOGY 

A major objective of our expedition was to determine 
the bird species diversity of the Cardamom Mountains 
by making observations and a representative collection 
of skins and tissue. The locations, altitudes, habitat, and 
dates surveyed for fieldwork sites are detailed in the 
Appendix. 

We used mist-nets to catch under- and middle-storey 
species and supplementary snares to catch terrestrial 
species, but most middle-storey and canopy-dwelling 
species were observed only. Mist-nets were operated in 
lower montane evergreen forest at 1,250 m on Mount 
Tumpor (12°22’N 103°02’E) during 28 February-6 
March 2000 (210 m for 78 hours, giving 16,380 mist- 
net metre-hours) and at 1,450 m within 1 km of the 
summit of Mount Khmaoch (12°09’45”N 
103°00’45”E) during 12-20 March 2000 (150 m for 
68 hours giving 11,340 mist-net metre-hours). Mist- 
nets were controlled hourly and were opened from dawn 
to dusk. All birds were photographed, identified to 
species, aged and sexed where possible, and assessed 
for breeding condition and moult. Most of the birds 


Table 1 . Bird species new for Cambodia in January-April 2000. 
Taxon 

White-browed Piculet Sasia ochracea reichenowi 

Javan Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis 

Dark-sided Thrush Zoothera marginata 

Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra annamensis 

Slaty-backed Flycatcher Ficedula hodgsonii 

Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni langbianis 

Fujian Niltava Niltava davidi 

Green Cochoa Cochoa viridis 

Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii canescens 

Grey-bellied Tesia Tesia cyaniventer 

White-tailed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus davisoni intensior 
Grey-crowned Warbler Seicercus tephrocephalus 
Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps stresemanni 
Large Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus hypoleucos tickelli 
Pygmy Wren Babbler Pnoepyga pusilla annamensis 


Comments 

Two specimens collected 
Heard only 

One specimen collected 
Seven specimens collected 
One specimen collected 
One specimen collected 
Sight record only 

Heard only and song tape-recorded 

Four specimens collected 

Two specimens collected 

Four specimens collected 

One specimen collected 

Two specimens collected 

Two specimens collected 

Two specimens collected 








72 


J. C. EAMES et al 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


trapped were subsequently released. However, a 
representative collection was made. Criteria for 
collection included any taxon believed to represent an 
undescribed form, taxa new for Cambodia or new for 
the Cardamom Mountains, and finally taxa absent or 
under-represented in the collection of the Natural 
History Museum (NHM), Tring, U.K., formerly the 
British Museum of Natural History (BMNH). 
Specimens were prepared in the field either as study 
skins or preserved as spirit specimens in 80% ethanol. 
Tissue samples were taken from nearly all specimens 
made into study skins and deposited in 98% ethanol. 
The cadavers of 70% of all skins prepared were also 
deposited in ethanol. Standard biometric data were 
recorded for each specimen. 

When not controlling mist-nets, active searches were 
carried out, weather permitting. Trails in the forest and 
logging roads were walked slowly and deliberately, with 
frequent stops to observe mixed-species feeding flocks 
or birds feeding at fruiting trees, and with frequent 
imitation of the call of Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei 
using a bamboo whistle to incite mobbing by birds. 

RESULTS 

During the survey a total of 166 bird species were 
recorded (see Appendix).This included two threatened 
species, Green Peafowl Pavo muticus (Vulnerable) and 
Chestnut-headed Partridge (Endangered), and one 
Near Threatened species, Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis 
(BirdLife International 2001). A total of 15 species were 
new for Cambodia (Table 1). A short paper has recently 
been published using our data by Davidson (2000), in 
which reference is made to three other possible ‘firsts’ 
(Grey-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus Solaris, Spot-throated 
Babbler Pellorneum albiventre and Rufous-throated 
Fulvetta Alcippe rufogularis ) which we consider now to 
be unreliable sight records. Records of Javan Frogmouth 
Batrachostomus javensis were mentioned as unconfirmed 
in Net Neath et al. (2001). 

Of the 15 species in Table 1, specimens were obtained 
of 12 species, which are described in detail below. Fujian 
Niltava Niltava davidi was recorded as a sight record 
and Javan Frogmouth and Green Cochoa Cochoa viridis 
were heard only. The song of the latter species was tape- 
recorded. In total, 52 skins, one wing, 28 complete and 
35 partial alcohol specimens and 35 tissue samples were 
collected. With the kind permission of the Royal 
Cambodian Government this entire collection was 
presented to the NHM. Diagnosis of the entire collection 
was made during 2000 and 2001 by JCE and FDS. 
Additionally during 2000 and 2001 JCE visited the 
American Museum of Natural History, New York 
(AMNH) and the United States National Museum, 
Washington D.C. (USNM), and FDS visited the 
Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris (MNHN). 

Annotated list of specimens collected 

Our collection added four new taxa to the NHM 
collection, comprising four additions to the skin 
collection, 24 additions to the spirit collection and 27 
additions to the tissue collection. The following section 
comprises a detailed account of the skin specimens 


collected during the expedition, which ate restricted- 
range subspecies and/or first records for Cambodia and/ 
or undescribed in full in the literature (additional 
specimens are listed in Table 2). In these cases the 
specimen number, sex and date of collection, and full 
biometrics are provided. Specimens were measured in 
the field at the time of collection and re-measured later 
at NHM and comprised: length of maxilla from its tip 
to the base of the skull, maximum wing chord, tarsus 
length (measured from the ankle joint to the last 
complete scutum), tail length (from tail-tip to the end 
of the pygostyle) and mass. A description of the soft- 
part coloration is also provided. Plumage descriptions 
follow Smithe (1975). Registration numbers prefixed 
with a capital A are for alcohol-stored specimens; if a 
conventional number and a prefixed one are given for 
the same bird, then the body and a tissue sample of the 
skin specimen are additionally kept in alcohol. 

Chestnut-headed Partridge Arborophila cambodiana 
A series of two collected from Mounts Tumpor and 
Khmaoch (Steinheimer et al. 2000, Steinheimer 2002) 
were compared with ten specimens including the two 
syntypes and six paratypes of the nominate form, a 
topotype, additional specimen of A. c. diversa and several 
photographs. The specimens from Mounts Tumpor and 
Khmaoch are sufficiently distinct to be named as 

Arborophila cambodiana chandamonyi 

subsp. nov. 

Holotype BMNH registration number 2000.5.1. Adult 
female collected at 1,250 m on Mount Tumpor (12°22’N 
103°02’E), Pursat province, Cambodia, on 5 March 
2000. Body in spirit collection registered number AJ 
2000.8.1.Tissue sample deposited. See Figs. 4-7. 

Paratype BMNH registration number 2000.5.2. Adult 
unsexed (no gonads located) collected at 1,500 m on 
Mount Khmaoch (12°09’45”N 103°00’45”E), Pursat 
province, Cambodia, on 19 March 2000. See Figs. 4 
and 7. 

Diagnosis This new form, showing a well-defined black 
crown sparsely maculated with chestnut, is intermediate 
between the two previously described forms.The colour 
pattern of the mantle of our specimens is shared with 
A. c. diversa, while the intensive chestnut colour of the 
face, throat and breast combined with the lack of a clear 
black necklace and the general underpart pattern are 
consistent with A. c. cambodiana. 

The holotype of Arborophila cambodiana chandamonyi 
conforms in plumage pattern and level of colour 
saturation to the nominate form. It differs in showing 
less well-marked underparts, particularly in reduced 
levels of black. It differs from the holotype of A. c. 
cambodiana in the absence of black tips to the feathers 
of the throat. The upper breast is a little richer orange 
but the lower breast lacks the broad white feather centres 
and the black subterminal borders shown by the 
nominate form. The holotype and paratype of the new 
form show less black subterminal fringes on the 
underparts. The upperparts of the nominate form differ 
from this new form in having a solid black crown and 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


A collection of birds from the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia 


73 


the nape, mantle, back, scapulars and predominantly 
black wing-coverts with only narrow olive-buff 
subterminal tips. The female syntype of A. c. cambodiana 
shows less black but its extent is still significant. The 
extent of the black in the other two males of the 
nominate form examined approaches the male syntype. 
The new form differs from A. c. diversa in showing 
greater orange saturation. The topotype of A. c. diversa 
examined has the feathers of the lower throat broadly 
tipped with black. The rest of the underpart pattern is 
similar in A. c. cambodiana and A. c. diversa although A. 
c. diversa shows more black. The upperparts of A. c. 
diversa do not differ significantly from the new form 
except that A. c. diversa shows much less orange on the 
head, and has black fringes to the feathers of the chin, 
throat and cheeks. The crown and nape of A. c. diversa 
show only narrow black feather centres and tips. 

Description of holotype Forehead and lores Raw Sienna 
(136). Crown and nape Antique Brown (37) broadly 
tipped Jet Black (89) and mottled, giving the impression 
of a largely black crown. The cheeks are close to Tawny 
(38) but are a little darker and redder. The chin and 
throat are also Tawny (38) but a little paler. The lower 
throat and jugulars are not easily colour-matched but 
are closest to Raw Sienna (136) grading to Burnt Sienna 
(132). At the sides of the breast some feathers are tipped 
Jet Black (89). The breast is Raw Sienna (136) with 
Olive Brown (28) tones on the sides of the breast, 
becoming paler on the belly and undertail-coverts. The 
feathers of the lower breast and belly have off-white 
central shaft-streaks bordered by indistinct rows of small 
blackish spots. The off-white feather centres become 
broader forming tear-shaped spots on the belly and 
flanks. The flank feathers have broad black borders 
producing a pronounced scaled effect. From behind the 
eye there is a narrow sepia line along the side of the 
neck terminating as spots on the side of the throat. The 
mantle, back and rump are Raw Umber (123) but with 
a Brown Olive (29) cast and Antique Brown (37) 
subterminal tips and black tips (although these are 
absent on the rump), creating a finely barred effect.The 
primaries are Sepia (119) with very narrow Tawny (38) 
fringes to the outer web and Sepia (119) spotting 
towards the tip, the spotting and fringing becoming 
broader on the secondaries. The lesser and median 
coverts are broadly fringed Raw Umber (123) with 
Smoke Grey (45) centres and blackish basal halves, 
especially on the inner webs. The scapulars are Smoke 
Grey (45) fringed Raw Sienna (136). The inner web 
has a narrow to broad black subterminal fringe 
approaching Chestnut (32) but a little more orange.This 
pattern becomes more prominent on the lower 
scapulars. The greater coverts are Raw Umber (23) 
narrowly fringed Tawny (38), tipped Smoke Grey (45) 
with the inner web Dusky Brown (19) with some 
irregular flecks on the outer webs. The secondaries are 
Sepia (114) broadly tipped Antique Brown (37) with 
irregular flecking. The undertail-coverts are Tawny (38) 
with more Cinnamon (39) admixed. 

Paratype variation The paratype differs principally in the 
level of colour saturation of both the upperparts, which 
have reduced orange-chestnut tones, and is a colder and 
more olive tone. The most striking difference is the 


colour of the underparts. In the paratype the feathers 
of the lower throat are broadly tipped black producing 
a narrow black necklace, separated from the breast by a 
jugulars, intermediate in colour as in the holotype.The 
coloration of the breast is intermediate between Mikado 
Brown (121c) and Cinnamon (39).The black spotting 
and blackish subterminal fringes are more extensive and 
more pronounced.The lower belly to the vent is creamy- 
white fringed Tawny Olive (223d) with indistinct rows 
of broken barring Vandyke Brown (2 21). The face, chin 
and throat are also less saturated orange and in ground 
colour approach Cinnamon (39) more closely. 

Measurements and bare-part coloration: Holotype Maxilla 
(tip to skull) 19.3 mm, wing (max chord) 140 mm, tarsus 
length 36 mm, tail length 61 mm, weight 283 g. Bill 
dark brown-horn, feet and legs salmon-pink with orange 
soles, iris dark brown, red facial skin at rear of lower 
eye-lid. Paratype Maxilla (tip to skull) 22 mm, wing 
(max. chord) 151 mm, tarsus length 38 mm, tail length 
63 mm. Bill black-horn, feet and legs salmon-pink with 
orange soles, and iris dark brown, lower eye-lid red. 

Mean measurements of A. c. cambodiana (n = 10) in 
comparison with Holo- and Paratype (n = 2). Maxilla 
(tip to skull) 20.94 mm (range: 19.0-22.4 mm; vs mean 
for A. c. chandamonyi: 20.6 mm), wing (max. chord) 
142.7 (133-160) vs chandamonyi mean 145.5 mm, tarsus 
length 36.75 (32.8-39.8) vs chandamonyi mean 37 mm, 
tail length (measured with flat ruler down to vent, not 
comparable to the measurement above, which are taken 
on the fresh dead bird) 49.8 mm (133-160) vs 
chandamonyi mean 145.5 mm. 

Ecology and behaviour On Mounts Tumpor and 
Khmaoch this taxon was typically observed in pairs. It 
was not shy and on 5 March 2000 a pair were observed 
at 5 m.Typically for this genus, a pair performs the song 
as a duet. The song begins as a series of widely spaced 
couplets, at first on a monotone, slowly, then increasing 
in pitch and then abruptly stopping. The second bird 
then gives a rapid series of chip notes. On Mounts 
Tumpor and Khmaoch the song was heard daily. 

Habitat On Mounts Tumpor and Khmaoch this taxon 
was typically found in lower montane evergreen forest. 
On 5 March 2000 a pair were observed crossing a stream 
bed at forest edge. 

Distribution This species is endemic to the mountains of 
south-east Thailand, the central Cardamom and 
Elephant ranges. Within the Cardamom Mountains the 
population of Arborophila c. chandamonyi is currently 
known only from the Samkos range, Pursat province. It 
may occur towards the Thai border, and further south¬ 
east in the central Cardamom Mountains (Phnom 
Kravanh region, Koh Kong province), at 400-1,400 m 
(Engelbach 1938, Goes 2000b). This central range is 
discrete and isolated from the Elephant range as well as 
from the Thai mountains of Khao Soi Dao, Krat 
province, by areas at lower altitudes (<300 m: Daltry 
and Momberg 2000), but hardly anything is known 
about the altitudinal distribution of this species. The 
north-western and south-eastern populations of this 
species may either represent a gradual dine or A. c. 







74 


J. C. EAMES et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


cambodiana , A. c. chandamonyi and A. c. diversa may be 
consistent in plumage character expression with a high 
level of individual variation existing only within the 
contact zone (J. Fjeldsa in litt. 2002). In describing an 
additional new form we concede that we have side¬ 
stepped this issue and left this question to be addressed 
by others. It will remain unresolved until further research 
has taken place in the Kirirom and Mount Aural areas 
to establish fully the range of this species. Our 
description of a new form strongly indicates that A. c. 
diversa is not a distinct species as recently stated ( contra 
Robson 2000), but belongs within A. cambodiana. This 
was also the conclusion of Riley (1938), who noted the 
level of variation within and across A. cambodiana and 
subsequently subsumed A. diversa in A. cambodiana (see 
also Amadon and Short 1992). 

Etymology This subspecies is named in honour of our 
colleague Meas Chandamony of the Department of 
Forestry andWildlife who very sadly contracted malaria 
and died during the expedition. 

Specimens examined: A. c. cambodiana : BMNH 
1928.6.26.3 (syntype) 14 December 1927, male, Bokor, 
Cambodia; BMNH 1928.6.26.4 (syntype), 16 
December 1927, female, Bokor, Cambodia; BMNH 
1928.6.26.125 (paratype), 13 December 1927, male, 
Bokor, Cambodia; BMNH 1928.6.26.126 (paratype), 
17 December 1927, male, Bokor, Cambodia; MNHN 
1929.721 (paratype), 17 December 1927, male, Bokor, 
Cambodia; MNHN 1929.722 (paratype), 17 December 
1927, male, Bokor, Cambodia; MNHN 1929.723 
(paratype), 17 December 1927, female, Bokor, 
Cambodia; MNHN 1929.724 (paratype), 17 December 
1927, indeterminate, Bokor, Cambodia; MNHN 
1938.82, 14 June 1936, male, Bokor, Cambodia; 
MNHN 1938.83, 1 April 1935, female, Bokor, 
Cambodia. 

A. c. diversa : USNM 333609 (topotype) 21 
November 1933, female, Khao Sa Bab (c. 1,000 m), 
Thailand; USNM 534549, 13 March 1966, male, Khao 
Soi Dao (c.1,200 m), Thailand; USNM 324093 
(holotype, seen as a photograph only), 8 January 1930, 
male, Khao Sa Bab (c. 1,000 m), Thailand; USNM 
333610 (photograph), 21 November 1933, female, Khao 
Sa Bab (c.1,000 m), Thailand; USNM 333611 
(photograph), 21 November 1933, female, Khao Sa Bab 
(c. 1,000 m), Thailand; USNM 333612 (photograph), 
21 November 1933, male, Khao Sa Bab (c. 1,000 m), 
Thailand; USNM 534550 (photograph), 16 March 
1966, female, Chanthaburi, Khao Soi DaoTai (c. 1,160 
m), Thailand. 

The NHM collection contains the first ethanol- 
preserved body and tissue sample of this species. 

Silver Pheasant Lophura nycthemera lewisi 
BMNH 2000.5.3 Adult female collected at 1,400 m on 
Mount Khmaoch on 18 March 2000. Maxilla 32 mm, 
tarsus 73 mm, wing 222 mm, tail 230 mm, bill green¬ 
horn, feet and legs scarlet, iris orange. Red facial skin. 

BMNH 2000.5.4 Adult male collected at 1,400 m 
on Mount Khmaoch on 18 March 2000. Maxilla 34.5 
mm, tarsus 81 mm, wing 245 mm, tail 334 mm, bill 
green-horn, feet and legs scarlet, iris orange. Red facial 
skin. See Fig. 8. 


Specimens were compared with the type material at 
the NHM. 

White-browed Piculet Sasia ochracea reichenowi 
BMNH 2000.5.6, A/2000.8.3 Adult male with enlarged 
testis (4.2 mm x 3.2 mm), collected at 1,270 m on 
MountTumpor on 28 February 2000. Maxilla 13.2 mm, 
tarsus 15 mm, wing 54 mm, tail 23 mm, weight 8.6 g. 
Bill: upper mandible slate-grey, lower mandible whitish- 
grey, towards tip slate. Feet and legs orange, soles yellow, 
iris intense red, orbital skin blood vinous-red. An 
additional specimen is kept in spirit (A/2000.8.37). 

This is the first record of this species from Cambodia. 

Great Eared Nightjar Eurostopodus macrotis cerviniceps 
BMNH 2000.5.5, A/2000.8.2 Juvenile collected at the 
foot of Mount Khmaoch at 600 m on 11 March 2000. 
Weight 108 g. Bill light grey with a black tip, feet flesh, 
and iris dark brown. 

As the juvenile of this species has remained 
undescribed so far (Cleere and Nurney 1998), we here 
provide a short description of our specimen: wing 
feathers still in quills (total length of wing 140 mm), 
blackish-sepia with fine cinnamon-drab stripes and 
much darker as in adults; however, wing tips cinnamon- 
drab with blackish dots similar to the adult. Underparts 
greyish-buff with some darker stripes. Breast similar to 
adult plumage, being dark brown tipped light hazel, 
though not so chestnut as in the adult bird. Chin and 
throat with fine brownish and blackish tones. Tail still 
in quills (67 mm), similar to adult plumage, but much 
paler ground colour (between pale horn and pale 
pinkish-buff). Scapulars with vinaceous-pinkish tones. 
The main differences from the adult bird are the 
upperparts (from forehead to rump) having pale pinkish- 
buff feathers, which are distally spotted with black. This 
feature is known from the crown in adult birds only. 

Besra Accipiter virgatus affinis 

BMNH 2000.5.53 [wing only] Adult male collected at 
1,250 m on Mount Tumpor on 29 February 2000. 

This single wing confirms the subspecies A. v. affinis 
for Cambodia (cf. Engelbach 1949: 13). 

Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina innotata 
BMNH 2000.5.19, A/2000.8.12 Adult male 
undeveloped testis (max. 2.2 x 1.6 mm) collected at 
1,270 m on Mount Tumpor on 1 March 2000. Maxilla 
24.3 mm, wing 114 mm, tarsus 31.1 mm, tail 73 mm, 
weight 66 g. Bill: upper mandible slatish, lower mandible 
whitish to slatish; feet pale flesh, iris dark brown. 

Dark-sided Thrush Zoothera marginata 
BMNH 2000.5.20, A/2000.8.13 Adult female collected 
at 1,250 m on MountTumpor on 1 March 2000. Maxilla 
35.1 mm, wing 126 mm, tarsus 27 mm, tail 78 mm, 
weight 82 g. Bill: upper mandible dark horn, lower 
mandible paler horn; feet pale flesh-horn, iris very dark 
brown. 

This is the first record of this species from Cambodia. 

Slaty-backed Flycatcher Ficedula hodgsonii 
BMNH 2000.5.48, A/2000.8.31 Adult male testis 
undeveloped collected at 1,270 m on MountTumpor 
on 2 March 2000. Maxilla 10.6 mm, wing 67 mm, tarsus 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


A collection of birds from the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia 


75 


14.8 mm, tail 52 mm, weight 8.5 g. Bill dark slatish, 
feet flesh, and iris dark brown. 

This is the first record of this species from Cambodia 
and extends the known range of the species in South- 
East Asia (cf. Robson 2000). 

Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra 
annamensis 

BMNH 2000.5.45 Adult male enlarged testis (max. 2.9 
x 2.1 mm) collected at 1,270 m on Mount Tumpor on 
29 February 2000. Maxilla 12.2 mm, wing 56 mm, 
tarsus 20.6 mm, tail 41 mm, weight 7.5 g. Bill black, 
feet light grey, iris not noted. 

BMNH 2000.5.46, A/2000.8.29 Adult female 
collected at 1,270 m on Mount Tumpor on 1 March 
2000. Maxilla 11.8 mm, wing 56 mm, tarsus 17.8 mm, 
tail 30 mm, weight 9.5 g. Bill slate, feet pale pink to 
flesh-coloured, and iris very dark brown. 

BMNH 2000.5.47, A/2000.8.30 Adult male enlarged 
testis (max. 2.9 x 2.5 mm) collected at 1,270 m on 
Mount Tumpor on 2 March 2000. Maxilla 10.3 mm, 
wing 61 mm, tarsus 18.2 mm, tail 42 mm, weight 7.5 g. 
Bill black, feet light flesh, iris very dark brown. Four 
additional specimens, A/2000.8.55-58, are kept in spirit. 

The two male skins differ from two males (including 
the syntype at NHM) of the subspecies Ficedula h. 
annamensis from Mount Langbian, Vietnam, in having 
the outer web of the secondaries, and, to a lesser extent, 
also of the primaries, plumbeous-brown with an indigo- 
blue sheen (instead of hair-brown with a cinnamon 
sheen). The forehead at the base of the bill and especially 
the lores of the Cambodian specimens are bluish-black, 
compared with more slatish-blue in the other specimens. 
The Cambodian specimens match in these characters a 
single male specimen from Ngoc Linh, Kon Turn 
province, Vietnam (BMNH 1997.7.4; for locality 
description see Eames etal. 1999).The female specimen 
differs from the female syntype of this subspecies in 
having an orange-buff supercilium and forehead (instead 
of pure light buff). These are the first records of this 
species for Cambodia. 

Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni langbianis 
BMNH 2000.5.49, A/2000.8.32 Adult male enlarged 
testis (max. 3.9 x 2.9 mm) collected at 1,270 m on 
Mount Tumpor on 2 March 2000. Maxilla 12.0 mm, 
wing 59 mm, tarsus 16.4 mm, tail 46 mm, weight 7 g. 
Bill black, feet dark slate, iris very dark brown. 

The specimen was compared with the type of this 
subspecies at the NHM and represents the first record 
of this species from Cambodia. 

White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura cambodiana 
BMNH 2000.5.13, A/2000.8.8 Adult male collected at 
1,270 m on Mount Tumpor on 28 February 2000. 
Maxilla 17.2 mm, wing 91 mm, tarsus 25.5 mm, tail 81 
mm, weight 24 g. Bill black, feet black, iris dark brown. 

BMNH 2000.5.14 Adult female collected at 1,270 
m on Mount Tumpor on 29 February 2000. Maxilla 18 
mm, wing 85 mm, tarsus 24.9 mm, tail 68 mm, weight 
7.5 g. Bill slate, feet grey, and iris dark brown. 

BMNH 2000.5.15 Adult male enlarged testis (max. 

3.8 x 4.2 mm) collected at 1,270 m on Mount Tumpor 
on 29 February 2000. Maxilla 17.4 mm, wing 88 mm. 


tarsus 26.9 mm, tail 95 mm, weight 24.5 g. Bill black, 
feet blackish, iris dark brown. 

BMNH 2000.5.16, A/2000.8.9 Adult male collected 
at 1,250 m on Mount Tumpor on 2 March 2000. Maxilla 
17.5 mm, wing 92 mm, tarsus 28 mm, tail 87 mm, 
weight 25.5 g. Bill black, feet dark brown-horn, and iris 
black. 

BMNH 2000.5.17, A/2000.8.10 Adult male enlarged 
testis (max. 3.4 x 2.4 mm) collected at 1,200 m on 
Mount Khmaoch on 15 March 2000. Maxilla 16.1 mm, 
wing 89 mm, tarsus 28 mm, tail 78 mm, weight 21.5 g. 
Bill black, feet very dark slate, iris very dark brown. Nine 
further specimens, A/2000.8.39-47, are kept in spirit. 

Description BMNH 2000.5.14 is the first female of this 
taxon to be collected and is described as follows: 
Forehead, crown and nape dark olive-brown (no colour 
match was possible), becoming warmer brown on the 
mantle, back and rump. Uppertail-coverts dark Raw 
Umber (123) tipped white. Lores off-white and there is 
a narrow off-white eye-ring. Cheeks Raw Umber (123) 
with pale shafts and a little greyer at the feather tip. The 
sides of the neck are Raw Umber (123), becoming 
predominantly Glaucous (80) on the belly. The flanks 
and vent are grey (Glaucous 80) admixed with Raw 
Umber (123) but appear a colder earth-brown.The chin 
is off-white with Grey (123) tips, the throat maculated 
white and Raw Uumber, abruptly stopping on the breast, 
which is pure Raw Umber. Towards the belly the feathers 
get greyish and finally white. The undertail-coverts are 
mixed white and light Raw Umber (123) and have white 
tips. The rectrices are Vandyke Brown (221) with warmer 
brown fringes to the distal halves of the outer webs of 
the outer two rectrices. The outermost rectrix (R6) lacks 
any white. Rectrix 5 has white at the base of the outer 
web, R4 has the basal third of the outer web white, R3 
two-thirds of the outer web white, R2 three-quarters of 
the outer web white and the innermost rectrix (Rl) again 
has no white. The underside of the rectrices is Olive 
Brown (28), but with a silvery-grey cast. The lesser, 
median and greater coverts are Dark Brown Olive (129) 
admixed with Raw Umber (123).The remiges have their 
outer webs Brussels Brown (121b), except the innermost 
primary, which has both webs Brussels Brown (123b). 
The inner webs of the remiges are Vandyke Brown (221). 
The underside of the remiges are closest to Olive Brown 
(28) but with a silvery-grey cast. 

Specimens examined BMNH 1928.6.26.10 holotype, 13 
December 1927, male, Bokor, Cambodia; MNHN 
1929.1443 paratype, 11 December 1927, male, Bokor, 
Cambodia.The measurements and soft-part colours of 
the type specimens are: MNHN 1929.1443/BMNH 
19286.26.10: maxilla 14.9/broken mm, wing 85/87 mm, 
tarsus 26/24 mm, tail 66/64 mm. Bill black/black, feet 
black/black, iris brown (for further details see also 
Delacour and Jabouille 1928: 132-133). 

Notes on specimens collected This subspecies was 
previously known only from the holotype and paratype 
(both males). Our specimens match the types in the 
absence of any light blue at the forehead. However, the 
specimens from Mounts Tumpur and Khmaoch differ 
in being much darker, especially on the breast and tail 



76 


J. C. EAMES et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


(dark blackish-indigo instead of slightly ultramarine- 
blue tinged light plumbeous and dark sepia, 
respectively).The differences might be due to ageing of 
the type specimens and collecting date, respectively 
(both from December; ours are from February and 
March) or may represent real variation between 
populations.This latter point cannot be clarified without 
reference to new material from the Elephant range. 
Myiomela leucura cambodiana is the only race of this 
species that lacks the light blue forehead. The nominate 
form occurs from Nepal across to southern Vietnam 
and south to Malaysia, and on Taiwan (doubtfully 
distinct ssp. montium). The morphological differences 
exhibited by this taxon and its geographical range 
suggests that it may be a candidate for upgrading to 
species level.This species was in mating condition (males 
were very active), whilst the ovaries of birds collected 
showed slight enlargement. This is the most common 
bird species in the forest understorey at 1,200-1,400 m 
on Mounts Tumpur and Khmaoch. 

Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus 
BMNH 2000.5.18, A/2000.8.1 1 Adult male enlarged 
testis (max. 5.0 x 3.3 mm) collected at 1,250 m on 
Mount Tumpor on 3 March 2000. Maxilla 19.8 mm, 
wing 99 mm, tarsus 26 mm, tail 125 mm, weight 27 g. 
Bill black, feet pale pinkish-horn, iris black. 

The specimen has been compared with the type of 
this species at the NHM. The specimen has white tips 
of primaries and secondaries as noted on some 
specimens collected in winter from the NHM collection. 
These white tips may be related to wear or age but are 
not sex-related, and occur in specimens across the whole 
range of the species. 

Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii canescens 

BMNH 2000.5.8 Adult male collected at 1,250 m on 
Mount Tumpor on 29 February 2000. Maxilla 23 mm, 
wing 99 mm, tarsus 14 mm, tail 103 mm, weight 29.5 
g. Bill dark brown-horn, feet and legs purple-flesh, iris 
orange-brown. 

BMNH 2000.5.9 Adult female collected at 1,270 m 
on Mount Tumpor on 29 February 2000. Maxilla 22.4 
mm, wing 95 mm, tarsus 14.2 mm, tail 91 mm, weight 
26 g. Bill slate-coloured, feet and legs silver-grey with 
yellow soles, iris orange-brown. 

BMNH 2000.5.10, A/2000.8.5 Adult male enlarged 
testis (max. 10.9 mm) collected at 1,600 m on Mount 
Khmaoch on 13 March 2000. Maxilla 21.6 mm, wing 
98 mm, tarsus 19.5 mm, tail 93 mm, weight 38.5 g. Bill 
dark slate, feet greyish-flesh, and iris chestnut. 

BMNH 2000.5.11,^2000.8.6 Adult male enlarged 
testis (max. 10.3 mm) collected at 1,600 m on Mount 
Khmaoch on 14 March 2000. Maxilla 22.4 mm, wing 
102 mm, tarsus 18.6 mm, tail 97 mm, weight 39.5 g. 
Bill slate, feet flesh, and iris chestnut. 

This species was very common on the summit 
plateau of Mount Khmaoch. All males collected were 
in breeding condition. The specimens have been 
compared with photographs of the type specimen 
(USNM 324490). These are the first records of this 
species from the interior of Cambodia (cf. Round and 
Robson 2001). 


Grey-bellied Tesia Ten a cyaniventer 
BMNH 2000.5.37, A/2000.8.24 Adult male collected 
at 1,250 m on Mount Tumpor on 1 March 2000. Maxilla 
14 mm, wing 51 mm, tarsus 24 mm, tail 20 mm, weight 
9 g. Bill: upper mandible dark horn, lower mandible 
yellow-horn, feet pale brown-horn, iris very dark brown. 

BMNH 2000.5.38, A/2000.8.25 Adult male enlarged 
testis (max. 4.1 x 3.2 mm) collected at 1,400 m on 
Mount Khmaoch on 13 March 2000. Maxilla 10.2 mm, 
wing 47 mm, tarsus 21.7 mm, tail 17 mm, weight 9.5 g. 
Bill: upper mandible dark slate, lower mandible yolk- 
yellow, towards the top slate; feet flesh, and iris dark 
brown. 

The specimens have been compared with the type 
of this species at the NHM. These are the first records 
of this species from Cambodia and the most southerly 
records in South-East Asia (cf. Robson 2000). 

White-tailed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus davisoni 
intensior 

BMNH 2000.5.39 Adult male enlarged testis (max. 4.2 
x 3.0 mm) collected at 1,270 m on Mount Tumpor on 
29 February 2000. Maxilla 11.9 mm, wing 55 mm, 
tarsus 15.3 mm, tail 47 mm, weight 7.5 g. Bill: upper 
mandible blackish, lower mandible orange; feet light 
grey, iris brown. Three additional specimens. A/ 
2000.8.52-54, are kept in spirit. 

Several specimens in the NHM collection previously 
identified as Ed. klossi match the Cambodian specimen, 
but would have been collected outside the range of E d. 
intensior given in Watson (1986).This new specimen may 
be the only true E d. intensior in the NHM collection. 
This species is a common resident in the Cardamom 
Mountains. The specimen (and additional spirit 
specimens) are the first records of this species from 
Cambodia. 

Grey-crowned Warbler Seicercus tephrocephalus 
BMNH 2000.5.42, A/2000.8.27 Adult male collected 
at 1,200 m on Mount Khmaoch on 13 March 2000. 
Maxilla 11.0 mm, wing 58 mm, tarsus 17.5 mm, tail 45 
mm, weight 6 g. Upper mandible light horn, feet yolk- 
yellow, iris dark brown. 

DNA analysis of tissue samples produced a haplotype 
of Seicercus omeiensis , although external morphological 
features are in fact close to the taxon tephrocephalus sensu 
stricto (Anderson 1871, Martens et al. 1999, contra 
Alstrom and Olsson 1999, identification and pers. 
comm. J. Martens and S. Eck, 15 January 2002). Our 
specimen had testis of 1 mm and was therefore not in 
breeding condition. This specimen is the first record of 
this species from Cambodia. 

Plain-tailed Warbler Seicercus soror 
BMNH 2000.5.40 Adult female collected at 1,250 m 
on Mount Tumpor on 29 February 2000. Maxilla 10.6 
mm, wing 56 mm, tarsus 16.1 mm, tail 45 mm. Bill: 
upper mandible black-horn, lower mandible yellow- 
horn; feet yellow-flesh, yellow soles, iris blackish. 

BMNH 2000.5.41, A/2000.8.26 Adult male 
collected at 1,200 m on Mount Khmaoch on 12 March 
2000. Maxilla 11.5 mm, wing 56 mm, tarsus 17.0 mm, 
tail 45 mm. Bill: upper mandible brown-horn, lower 



Forktail 18 (2002) 


A collection of birds from the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia 


77 


mandible yolk-yellow; feet fleshy-yellow, iris very dark 
brown. 

The largest testis of the male measured 1.7 mm and 
this specimen was therefore not in breeding condition. 
This species is a winter migrant to the Cardamom 
Mountains (Alstrom and Olsson 1999).These skins were 
independently determined to be this species by J. 
Martens and S. Eck in February 2001, and by C. R. 
Robson in April 2000. The specimens have been 
compared with the type of this species at the NHM. 

Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaneiceps 
stresemanni 

BMNH 2000.5.43 Adult male collected at 1,250 m on 
MountTumpor on 29 February 2000. Maxilla 10.4 mm, 
wing 54 mm, tarsus 17 mm, tail 43 mm. Bill: upper 
mandible dark horn, lower mandible yellow-flesh; feet 
flesh-horn, iris black. A second specimen, A/2000.8.59, 
is retained in spirit. 

Our specimens match 5. c. stresemanni from Laos 
(BMNH 1932.5.14.101) in having a light grey breast, 
whitish belly, yellow-green flanks and an intensive yellow 
rump; however, they differ slightly with their 
considerably darker, chestnut-coloured head and the 
lack of clearly defined crown stripes. In the latter 
character they resemble instead the subspecies yonngi 
and butleri from the Siamese and Malay Peninsula, 
respectively. These specimens are the first records of 
this species from Cambodia. 


Cambodian Laughingthrush Garrulax ferrarius 
BMNH 2000.5.32, A/2000.8.22 Adult male collected 
at 1,250 m on MountTumpor on 1 March 2000. Maxilla 
26 mm, wing 129 mm, tarsus 41 mm, tail 120 mm, 
weight 101 g. Bill black, feet dark grey-horn, and iris 
dark reddish-brown, facial skin pale china-blue. See 
Fig. 9. 

Our specimen has been compared with a typical 
specimen (USNM 324310) and photographs of the 
holotype (USNM 324311), which was also examined 
in 2001 .We follow Riley (1940) and Round and Robson 
(2001) in treating this taxon as a species but we note 
that morphologically it resembles very closely Black- 
hooded Laughingthrush Garrulax milleti from Vietnam 
and Laos. 

Large Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus hypoleucos tickelli 
BMNH 2000.5.22, A/2000.8.15 Adult male enlarged 
testis (max. 4.8 x 4.5 mm) collected at 1,270 m on 
MountTumpor on 2 March 2000. Maxilla 44.9 mm, 
wing 108 mm, tarsus 40 mm, tail 111 mm, weight 82 g. 
Bill: upper mandible-base slatish, tip milky-white, lower 
mandible silvery-white; feet light flesh, iris brown. 

BMNH 2000.5.23, A/2000.8.16 Adult female 
collected at 1,250 m on MountTumpor on 3 March 
2000. Maxilla 39.1 mm, wing 100 mm, tarsus 49 mm, 
tail 96 mm, weight 69 g. Bill: upper mandible horn, 
lower mandible pale horn; feet purple-horn, and iris dark 
brown. 


Table 2. List of additional specimens collected: column 2 gives data of alcohol (prefixed with an ‘A’) and skin specimens 
not mentioned in the accounts above; column 3 indicates whether tissue samples were preserved and of how many 
individuals. 


Taxon Data Tissue 


Gallus gallus gallus BMNH A/2000.8.36: pullus, foothills of Mt. Khmaoch, 16 March 2000 

Serilophus lunatus elizabethae BMNH 2000.5.7, A/2000.8.4: adult female, Mt. Tumpor, 6 March 2000 1 

Rhipidura albicollis cinerascens BMNH A/2000.8.60: indeterminate, Mt. Tumpor, 29 February 2000 

BMNH A/2000.8.61: indeterminate, Mt. Tumpor, 29 February 2000 

Turdus obscurus BMNH 2000.5.21, A/2000.8.14: adult male, Mt. Tumpor, 3 March 2000 1 

Brachypteryx leucophrys BMNH 2000.5.12, A/2000.8.7: adult male, Mt. Tumpor, 3 March 2000 

langbianensis BMNH A/2000.8.38: indeterminate, Mt. Tumpor, 29 February 2000 1 

Ficedula mugimaki BMNH 2000.5.44, A/2000.8.28: adult male, Mt. Khmaoch, 14 March 2000 1 

Eumyias thalassina thalassina BMNH 2000.5.50, A/2000.8.33: adult male, Mt.Tumpor, 4 March 2000 1 

Niltava grandis grandis BMNH 2000.5.51, A/2000.8.34: adult male, Mt. Tumpor, 2 March 2000 

BMNH 2000.5.52, A/2000.8.35: adult female, Mt. Tumpor, 2 March 2000 2 

Pomatorhinus schisticeps klossi BMNH 2000.5.24, A/2000.8.17: juv. male, Mt. Tumpor, 3 March 2000 

BMNH 2000.5.25: adult male, Mt. Tumpor, 29 February 2000 

BMNH 2000.5.26, A/2000.8.18: adult male, Mt. Tumpor, 3 March 2000 2 

Napothera brevicaudata BMNH 2000.5.27: adult male, Mt.Tumpor, 29 February 2000 

griseigularis BMNH 2000.5.28, A/2000.8.19: adult male, Mt. Tumpor, 4 March 2000 

BMNH A/2000.8.48: indeterminate, Mt. Tumpor, 1 March 2000 1 

Pteruthius flaviscapis aeralatus BMNH 2000.5.33: adult male, Mt. Khmaoch, 20 March 2000 

BMNH 2000.5.34: adult female, Mt. Khmaoch, 20 March 2000 











78 


J. C. EAMES et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


These specimens are the first from Cambodia. weight 11.5 g. Bill: upper mandible black, lower 

Recent sight records also exist (Timmins and Men mandible whitish-slate, feet brownish-flesh, and iris dark 

Soriyun 1 998, Poole and Sun Hean 1999, Net Neath et brown. 

al. 2001). BMNH 2000.5.30 Adult male collected at 1,250 m 

on Mount Tumpor on 29 February 2000. Maxilla 13 
Pygmy Wren Babbler Pnoepyga pusilla annamensis mm, wing 52 mm, tarsus 19 mm, tail 14 mm, weight 11 

BMNH 2000.5.29, A/2000.8.20 Adult female collected g. Bill black-horn, feet dull flesh-horn, iris black, 

at 1,270 m on Mount Tumpor on 2 March 2000. Maxilla Subspecific determination was made by reference 

13.4 mm, wing 47 mm, tarsus 21 mm, tail 16 mm, to the types of Pnoepyga pusilla annamensis (Robinson 

Table 3. Comparison of generic diversity across selected species guilds. 

Species guild 

Genera 


No. of species in 

No. of species in 




Cardamom Mountains 

Da Lat Plateau 

Terrestrial omnivores 

Rheinardia 


0 


1 


Lophura 


1 


1 


Polyplectron 


0 


1 

Terrestrial insectivores 

Pitta 


1 


2 


Garrulax 


1 


3 


Pomatorhinus 


2 


3 


Jabouilleia 


0 


1 


Napothera 


1 


2 


Pnoepyga 


1 


1 

Partially terrestrial insectivores 

Tesia 


1 


1 


Brachypteryx 


1 


2 


Myiomela 


1 


1 

Understorey sallying insectivores 

Niltava 


1 


1 


Ficedula 


1 


2 

Understorey folio-gleaning insectivores 

Macronous 


1 


2 


Stachyris 


0 


1 

Middle-storey sallying insectivores 

Harpactes 


1 


1 


Lacedo 


1 


1 


Psarisomus 


1 


1 


Serilophus 


1 


1 

Middle-storey folio-gleaning insectivores 

Dicrurus 


5 


5 


Alophoixus 


1 


1 


Cutia 


0 


1 


Crocias 


0 


1 


Minla 


1 


1 


Yuhina 


1 


2 


Alcippe 


0 


3 


Cissa 


1 


2 

Middle-storey bark-gleaning insectivores 

Sitta 


1 


2 

Middle-storey wood-boring insectivores 

Sasia 


1 


1 


Blythipicus 


1 


1 

Canopy sallying insectivores 

Nyctyornis 


1 


1 

Canopy insectivore/frugivores 

Chloropsis 


2 


3 


Hypsipetes 


1 


2 

Canopy nectarivore/insectivores/frugivores 

Aethopyga 


1 


3 


Cochoa 


1 


1 


Irena 


1 


1 


Megalaima 


2 


3 


Treron 


1 


1 


Ducula 


1 


1 

Canopy granivores 

Loxia 


0 


1 


Carduelis 


0 


1 

Stream-side sallying insectivores 

Enicurus 


1 


2 

Stream-side terrestrial omnivores 

Zoothera 


1 


1 

Total 



42 


68 






Forktail 18 (2002) 


A collection of birds from the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia 


79 


and Kloss 1919: 591-592) and P. p. harterti (Robinson 
and Kloss 1918: 205). Both our specimens match P. p. 
annamensis having dorsally less rufous than P. p. harterti 
combined with buff lores, ear-coverts and the forehead 
differing in the colour of shoulders; in P p. pusilla the 
shoulders and ear-coverts have the same colour 
(specimens studied: P p. annamensis BMNH 

1919.12.20.342 [syntype], 1919.12.20.341 [syntype], 

1919.12.20.343 [paratype], MNHN 1940.901, 

1940.902, 1940.903, USNM 278496, 359133, 361161; 
P. p. harterti BMNH 1927.4.18.1014 [holotype], 
1906.7.23.26, 1906.7.23.27, 1906.7.23.28, 

1936.4.12.1959, 1936.4.12.1960, USNM 534859; P. p. 
pusilla 66 specimens of the BMNH collection). However, 
the ventral parts of specimen BMNH 2000.5.30 do not 
match any other specimen in the NHM collection, but 
do match a single female from Sa Pa,Vietnam, collected 
by B. Bjorkegren on 30 December 1938 (MNHN 
1940.902). Nevertheless, both specimens seem to be 
within the range of variation of the subspecies P. p. 
annamensis (compared with all existing subspecies).The 
male Cambodian specimen differs in having a white chin 
(feathers have a fine brown distal margin) combined 
with breast feathers all showing the central parts 
symmetrically in deep sepia (much darker than in all 
other specimens seen) margined with broad white and 
a thin brown line, giving an appearance of a scaly sepia- 
coloured breast-band. The female specimen had small 


ovaries and was not in breeding condition, whilst the 
male was already in mating condition.These specimens 
are the first records of this species from Cambodia. 

Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularis versuricolal 
saraburiensis 

BMNH 2000.5.31, A/2000.8.21 Adult female collected 
at 1,400 m on Mount Khmaoch on 14 March 2000. 
Maxilla 12.9 mm, wing 54 mm, tarsus 19.7 mm, tail 52 
mm, weight 11.8 g. Bill whitish-grey, feet yellowish-flesh, 
and iris creamish-pink. 

This specimen is intermediate between M. g. 
versuricola from Siem Reap, Cambodia, and M. g. 
saraburiensis from eastern Thailand (Lat Bua Kao). Our 
specimen is ventrally citron-yellow and shows similar¬ 
sized, thin black median streaks on the throat consistent 
with M. g. saraburiensis , and laterally intensifying black 
streaks towards the ear-coverts as in M. g. versuricola. 
There is no other specimen in the NHM collection 
which shows these intermediate characters. Three 
specimens from Bokor, Elephant range, Cambodia, in 
the NHM collection (BMNH 1928.6.26.1320-1322) 
resemble M. g. connectens (cf. Kloss 1918: 207). The 
female was not in breeding condition. 

Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera rufodorsalis 
BMNH 2000.5.35 Adult female collected at 1,250 m 
on MountTumpor on 29 February 2000. Maxilla 13.3 


Table 4. Bird taxa described from the Thailand-Cambodia Mountains EBA; RR = restricted-range (range <50,000 km": 
Stattersfield et al. 1998); * restricted-range within Indochina but not endemic to the Cardamom Mountains sensu lato (cf. 
Steinheimer 2002). 


Taxon Distribution 

Chestnut-headed Partridge Arborophila cambodiana RR 

Silver Pheasant Lophura nycthemera lewisi RR 

Blue Pitta Pitta cyanea aurantiaca RR 

Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae cyanicauda * 

Grey-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus Solaris nassovicus RR 

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer lefoli RR 

White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura cambodiana RR 

Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus cambodianus * 

Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii canescens RR 

White-tailed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus davisoni intensior RR 

Cambodian Laughingthrush Garrulax ferrarius RR 

White-browed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps klossi RR 

Streaked Wren Babbler Napothera brevicaudata griseigularis RR 

Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularis saraburiensis * 

Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera rufodorsalis RR 

Rufous-throated Fulvetta Alcippe rufogularis khmerensis * 

Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis eremita * 

White-bellied YuuiNAYuhina zantholeuca canescens RR 

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus cambodianum RR 

Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata cambodiana RR 






80 


J. C. EAMES et al. 


Forktail 18 (2002) 


Table 5. A comparison of levels of endemism between EBAs within Indochina: RR = 
<50,000 km’: Stattersfield et al. 1998). 

restricted-range species (range 

Endemic Bird Area 

RR 

confined 

RR 

occurring 

Threatened 

RR 

Score (RR confined+ 
RR occurring+ 
Threatened RR) 

Rank 

Annamese Lowlands 

3 

7 

2 

12 

5 

Thailand-Cambodia Mountains 

2 

2 

1 

5 

7 = 

Da Lat Plateau 

3 

8 

2 

13 

3— 

Eastern Himalayas 

19 

22 

8 

49 

1 

Irrawaddy Plains 

2 

2